Matshela Koko Photo: Nicolas Rama/ANA Pictures
JOHANNESBURG - Eskom head of generation Matshela Koko’s lawyers have sent notes to Business Leadership South (BLSA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), warning them to desist from condemning his recent disciplinary hearing.

The two organisations have been vociferous in their criticism of Koko’s return to the power utility.

Koko was this week reinstated to his old job after an Eskom disciplinary process found him not guilty of a handful of misconduct charges. The disciplinary process has drawn sharp criticism from a number of quarters, with some branding it a sham.

BLSA last week said Koko’s return to Eskom was inappropriate, diabolical and a snub to millions of South Africans who were victims of corruption through state capture. In its condemnation of the outcome of the disciplinary process, Numsa said there was a pattern at Eskom where processes were abused “in order to ensure that certain compromised executives are protected from taking responsibility for corruption”.

Koko’s lawyers on Monday sent stern letters to Numsa and BLSA, saying Koko took exception to the criticism of the disciplinary process.

“Our client’s disciplinary hearing was conducted properly and in compliance with the rule of law as well as Eskom’s internal processes and procedures,” the letter said. It said Koko had been targeted because of steps he took during his brief tenure as interim group chief executive to root out corruption at Eskom.

The letter said the two organisations had made their respective utterances without reading the record of the proceedings and the judgment by the hearings’ chairperson, Mzungulu Mthombeni.

“We suggest that you desist from making statements without having all the facts before you,” the letter said.

BLSA spokesperson Themba Maseko yesterday confirmed receipt of the lawyers’ letter. The organisation, however, maintained that Koko’s reinstatement was, at best, premature.


“This is because there is currently a parliamentary inquiry into governance failures under way at which Koko has not appeared to clear his name,” said Maseko.

He said there was also a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation, as announced by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, into key contracts at Eskom, including those overseen by Koko.

“We would expect, at the very least, conclusion of these two processes before he could be reinstated,” he said.

BLSA last week also aimed its guns at Brown, slamming what it said was her poor grasp of governance as well as Eskom’s role in the economy. It said the state-owned companies under her control were saddled with hurriedly promoted, usually untested and largely incompetent and corrupt “cadre deployments.”

It said Brown's continued tenure as public enterprises minister required “serious and urgent review”.

Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi yesterday confirmed that the union’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, had received the letter from Koko’s lawyers.