Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has condemned the decision by the Eskom board to reinstate Eskom’s former acting CEO, Matshela Koko, and Acting head of group capital, Prish Govender, to their positions.
Koko will resume duties as head of generation on Monday January 8, and Govender returned as acting head of group capital on Tuesday January 2.
“The Eskom board is clearly showing the people of South Africa the middle finger by allowing these compromised executives to return to their positions. It seems the disciplinary process was a mockery and an insult to all those who believe in good corporate governance and transparency in the running of State Owned Enterprises,” said NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim.
Koko was disciplined for nepotism and failing to declare a conflict of interest regarding his stepdaughter’s ownership of shares in a company which was awarded more than a billion rand in contracts by an Eskom division, which he led.
Prish Govender was implicated in the scandal involving consulting firm McKinsey where he is alleged to have paid monies to the firm, in a contract which has since been declared unlawful and void by Eskom.
“NUMSA is disturbed that there seems to be a pattern emerging at Eskom where processes are abused in order to ensure that certain compromised executives are protected from taking responsibility for corruption,” said Jim.
Jim said in Koko’s case, his disciplinary hearing was marred with allegations of board interference and witnesses being threatened and intimidated.
“Ordinary workers at Eskom are subject to a very stringent and brutal disciplinary process when they are accused of even the most minor transgressions, but seemingly top executives are rewarded or given a slap on the wrist for their crimes,” Jim said.
Jim said NUMSA repeated its call for the boards of all SOE’s, and in particular, for the board at Eskom, to be scrapped.
“The board of Eskom has failed repeatedly in its oversight role. It has been used by factions of the ANC government to enrich and reward cadres, instead of acting in the interests of the majority of South African people,” said Jim.
“No amount of condemnation will bring back the billions in wasted revenue which the Eskom management team have squandered,” he said.
Jim said NUMSA would be consulting lawyers to see what legal options were available to counter the “seemingly bogus” disciplinary process.
“Furthermore, together with the United Front, we will intensify the campaign against Eskom and the culture of corruption through more pickets and demonstrations,” he said.