The Appeals Committee of the Press Council has overturned a ruling by the Deputy Press Ombudsman that found in News24's favour against a complaint by former acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko.
On 25 October 2021, News24 published an explainer article titled "Matshela Koko's alleged cooking of Eskom's books: 5 things you need to know". The explainer article summarised the findings of an in-depth investigative report by News24 published on 25 October 2021, which was not challenged by Koko.
In the explainer article on 25 October 2021, News24 reported that an increase in planned maintenance in 2015 was not sustained during Koko's tenure.
This statement was not based on the audited financial statements of Eskom, and that increase was, according to Eskom's audited financial statements, sustained.
Additionally, to the extent that the article gave the impression that the continuing Eskom breakdowns are attributable to Koko, such a statement is not justified, unfair and is retracted.
Koko's complaint focused on one paragraph in the article.
The appeals committee dismissed Koko's complaint that News24 was wrong to report that Eskom's power generation units were run "hard" during his tenure.
The investigative articles detailed an extensive analysis by News24 of Eskom performance data spanning ten years and was published as part of The Eskom Files, a series of exposés detailing pervasive graft at Eskom over several years.
The full ruling of the Appeals Committee can be found on the Press Council's website.