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JOHANNESBURG - The commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing on the suspension of Eskom head of legal services and compliance Suzanne Daniels wrapped up yesterday, pending written submissions by Eskom and Daniels.

Eskom suspended Daniels in October last year over, among others, a breakaway session at Kievits Kroon, outside Pretoria, for 20 staff members that cost R66000. Daniels ultimately settled the bill. In her defence, she said Eskom did not suffer financial harm as a result of the breakaway session.

Daniels wants the CCMA to overturn the suspension, saying it was unfair, procedurally incorrect and a mockery.

Throughout the hearings, Daniels has maintained that the suspension was a ruse to get her out of Eskom after she wrote a damning report on the controversial McKinsey and Trillian Capital Partners contract. She said the first set of charges that she received related to the McKinsey and Trillian contract.

Daniels said yesterday that former Eskom interim chief executive Sean Maritz did not have enough time on October 6 last year to consider her representations on why she should not be suspended.

Maritz suspended Daniels on the same day he took over from Johnny Dladla as interim chief executive. In order to make an informed decision, Maritz would have to go through at least eight lever arch files, said Daniels.

Eskom, on the other hand, has suspended Maritz for, among others, rescinding a letter of demand that Daniels had written to McKinsey and Trillian. Eskom wanted the companies to repay a total of R1.6billion.

Daniels’s legal representative Shamima Gaibie insisted yesterday that Eskom provide minutes of board minutes in which Daniels’s fate was discussed.

“We are entitled to see the minutes,” she said. Eskom has undertaken to provide commissioner Prince Kekana with the minutes today.

Gaibie asked if Eskom, under a new board and interim chief executive, was still pursuing Daniels’s case.

But Eskom legal representative Itayi Gwaunza said yesterday that Eskom’s managers would appraise the board about disciplinary matters which he said were handled “at an operational level”.

Gwaunza said it was not for the board to make a call on such matters. Gaibie, however, said Daniels’s suspension was a board matter.

Former board chairperson Zethembe Khoza said the board had decided to suspend Daniels.

“That is at odds with the argument that this was an operational matter. Ms Daniels’s suspension is a matter that the board dealt with,” she said.

Gwaunza said Eskom’s interim chief executive Phakamani Hadebe had also been made aware of the proceedings. “The instruction to the acting head of legal matters (Wawa Xaluva) is for the matter to continue.”

Yesterday, Gwaunza cross-examined Daniels on her decision to approach law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr for legal advice after a group of her subordinates instituted grievances against her.

These related mainly to her management style. Gwaunza said Daniels should not have sought the legal advice. “You were conflicted,” he said.

But Daniels said as an executive she was entitled to seek legal advice. “I was not processing the grievance,” she said.

Kekana yesterday gave Eskom and Daniels seven days to make written submissions to him.

- BUSINESS REPORT