Let's take this outside, Eskom counsel tells journo at Koko's hearing

Johannesburg - Suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko's disciplinary hearing came to a tumultuous end on Friday, when Eskom evidence leader Sebetja Matsaung nearly came to blows with Financial Mail journalist Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

Matsaung later apologised to Mantshantsha.

Matsaung, a lawyer from SML Matsaung Attorneys, has been contracted by Eskom to lead evidence against Koko. 

Business Day and Financial Mail have run a series of critical articles about Matsaung, which questioned whether he was in a conflict of interest. In a report on Friday in the Business Day, Mantshantsha accused Matsaung of owning shares in a firm Eskom had planned to do business with.

After Friday's hearing ended, Matsaung was approached by journalists for comment. 

Energy analyst Chris Yelland asked Matsaung whether the hearing was being "cooked", a question which sparked the tirade against Mantshantsha.

Matsaung vehemently denied that there was any "cooking being done", adding that the process was above board.

"My problem is with the reporting here, it doesn't make that suggestion. It's not affording the utility the opportunity to do so," he said, pointing to Mantshantsha while adding "it is inaccurate reporting".

"I know that you are here. [You are] telling people that I am sleeping in the proceedings, when you were there and you were watching me."

He then got angry, asking Mantshantsha: "Are you intimidating me, boss? I'm not talking to you, I'm talking about you."

"I can take off my jacket now and we can go outside. Don't intimidate me, I'm not your friend. You are simulating that you will beat me up."

Matsaung progressively got more emotional. "Who the f#k do you think you are? You see me sweet and smiling and you think I am a n###? I will take you out now boss, the African way."

"I don't need the law, chief. I'll sort it out myself," Matsaung said, taking off his jacket and moving closer to Mantshantsha, before he was calmed down by Sunday Times reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

Matsaung then abruptly left the auditorium, without commenting further.

He called Mantshantsha half an hour later to say sorry. The reporter accepted his apology. 

Speaking to Fin24 afterwards, Mantshantsha said that Matsaung told him he has been under immense pressure, and that he let his emotions get the better of him.  Mantshantsha added that if bystanders hadn't stepped in to calm Matsaung, there may have been a fistfight. 

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