New company selected to lead Eskom inquiry

(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)
(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

Cape Town – The man behind Eskom’s inquiry has been dumped in the latest twist in the boardroom drama that has unfolded at the state utility over recent weeks.

Business turnaround consultant Nick Linnell was selected by former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi to conduct an independent inquiry into Eskom.

However, the board decided to “part ways” with Linnell on April 2 because the board believed Tsotsi did not follow the right procedures when he selected Linnell, according to Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe.

“There is nothing wrong with him [Linnell] or his company,” Phasiwe told Fin24. “The former chairperson had unilaterally appointed Linnell and did not follow proper corporate procedures.”

Zuma wanted Linnell - report
President Jacob Zuma had allegedly instructed Tsotsi to implement the inquiry and to use Linnell as its head, the Business Day reported on Tuesday.

According to the report Linnell, who headed up the inquiry into South African Airways (SAA) CEO Monwabisi Kalawe, has close ties with Zuma’s close friend Dudu Myeni, who is the SAA chairperson.

Tsotsi stepped down on March 31 as chairperson, after the board sought his removal for alleged interference and for following incorrect procedure in implementing the inquiry.

He announced the inquiry on March 12 after suspending four senior executives, including CEO Tshediso Matona.

The inquiry’s goal, which still remains the same, was to shed light on the poor performance of Eskom’s generation plant, delays in bringing the new generation plant on stream, high costs of primary energy and cash flow challenges.

Eskom selects another company to head inquiry

Phasiwe said the board had now followed the correct tender procedure and had chosen a company to conduct the inquiry.

“An announcement about that selection should be made very soon,” he said. “Everything else about the inquiry and the suspension of the four senior executives remains in place.”

Matona’s urgent application to be re-instated was turned down on March 27 when Labour Court Judge Benita Witcher struck his application off the roll without an order, leaving it to the CCMA to make a conclusive determination on whether Matona’s suspension was fair or not.

Winter has not arrived yet so turn off your heaters, says Eskom

Load shedding for Tuesday was high and the system would remain highly constrained throughout the week, the Eskom spokesperson told Fin24.

While winter is still about two months away, South Africans experienced a chilly Easter weekend, with many resorting to heaters to keep them warm.

This has added an unnecessary amount of electricity usage and has increased the demand for electricity, said Phasiwe.

“We call on South Africans to postpone using heaters as winter has not arrived yet,” said Phasiwe.

In other Eskom news, negotiations at Medupi between Eskom’s contractors and its staff was entering its fourth meeting on Tuesday and an update would be given later on Tuesday, said Phasiwe.

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