The Eskom Board has resolved to institute an investigation into allegations of racism against Group Chief Executive André de Ruyter.
The Board says it will appoint an independent Senior Counsel to conduct the investigation after allegations that stem from a letter sent to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) by suspended Chief Procurement Officer, Solly Tshitangano.
Tshitangano accuses De Ruyter of purging black suppliers and using racism to deal with them. He also accuses De Ruyter of attempting to purge black suppliers from Eskom’s database.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the counsel will report to the board and make recommendations.
Mantshantsha says, “The allegation not only brings Eskom into disrepute, but it also threatens to detract and distract the focus of the Executive Team and the GCE in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability.”
“In the event anyone has any reason to feel aggrieved because of racist or sexist behaviour, this must be raised by using the well-established internal grievance processes, which will ensure that such allegations are properly investigated, and if found to be warranted, will result in disciplinary action against the perpetrator of such unacceptable behaviour,” adds Mantshantsha.
Eskom internal executive management matters:
Scopa to also investigate Tshitangano’s allegations
Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) also said last week it will Tshitangano’s allegations.
Tshitangano was suspended in February for alleged failure to perform his duties. This however comes on the back of a letter he wrote to the Board and to the Minister of Public Enterprises, accusing the CEO of racism and attempts to purge black suppliers from Eskom’s database.
The Standing Committee of Public Accounts will conduct an inquiry into procurement deviations and other issues that have also been flagged by the Special Investigating Unit at Eskom.
Scopa was scheduled to receive a briefing from Eskom on issues of SIU investigations and deviations and expansions as reflected in the company’s annual report. But the meeting was suspended.
Members felt that it would serve no purpose if the Chief Procurement Officer was not available to answer questions regarding his areas of responsibility.
“The allegations are very serious, and so, the CEO will have to be afforded an opportunity to address us and respond to the allegations that have been made against him. So, we will put the issues that have been raised to him. So, I think that the committee’s investigative process must ensue on this matter given the importance of Eskom. It is very very urgent,” says Committee Chairperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa.