Koko set to testify in controversial hearing after key witnesses fail to show

Cape Town – Suspended executive Matshela Koko will testify at his disciplinary hearing at Eskom on Thursday, after key witnesses failed to show, the power utility said in a statement on Wednesday.

Eskom, which pledged to conduct a “fair and transparent” hearing, said there had been allegations about witnesses who declined to testify in the proceedings.

“It is important to note that the current evidence leader was duly instructed to do all that was necessary to obtain the attendance of all the identified witnesses,” Eskom said.

“Some witnesses have chosen to decline the request based on legal advice." 

Eskom interim chairperson Zethembe Khoza said Eskom “had no option but to continue with the hearing in the absence of these witnesses and to close its case on 25 November 2017”.

“Accordingly, Mr Koko will be testifying in his defence on 30 November 2017 at 09:00,” said Khoza.

Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest. He allegedly failed to declare, accurately and in a timely manner, that his 26-year-old stepdaughter Koketso Choma’s company was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.

EE Publishers investigative editor Chris Yelland, who attended the hearing last Saturday, reported that the final outcome of Koko’s disciplinary hearing, expected by about December 10, may simply be a precursor to a massive settlement and golden handshake to Koko to see the back of him.

FULL STORY: Koko’s disciplinary hearing at Eskom heads south...

Eskom hit back in its statement, saying it noted with “great concern” media reports that had suggested that the hearing collapsed “and that the entire process was a farce with a predetermined outcome”.

Khoza said Eskom “wishes to unequivocally state that this disciplinary hearing is being conducted in a fair, professional, and transparent manner, with the media being granted permission to attend what would ordinarily be treated as an internal matter".

“It is worth noting that the chairperson of the hearing, together with the evidence leaders from both parties, are competent and independent professionals who belong to highly regulated organisations that would take a dim view of any misconduct by any of their members.”

Eskom said that it was “regrettable that the events of 20 October 2017, where Eskom’s previous evidence leader was involved in an altercation with a journalist, have overshadowed the integrity of the disciplinary enquiry".

“Eskom took immediate action and replaced the former evidence leader in order to protect the sanctity of the hearing and to maintain the independence and freedom of expression of the media as enshrined in the Constitution of our country.”

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