Reinstated Eskom group executive for generation Matshela Koko. File photo
Reinstated Eskom group executive for generation Matshela Koko. File photo
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. File photo: ANA/Siphelele Dludla
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. File photo: ANA/Siphelele Dludla

JOHANNESBURG -The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has condemned the decision by the Eskom board to re-instate former acting CEO Matshela Koko and acting head of group capital Prish Govender to their positions, and threatened legal action over the "seemingly bogus disciplinary process".

Koko was disciplined for nepotism and failing to declare a conflict of interest regarding his stepdaughter's ownership of shares in a company which was awarded more than a billion rand in contracts by an Eskom division which he led.

Govender was implicated in the scandal involving consulting firm McKinsey, where he was alleged to have paid money to the firm in a contract which had since been declared unlawful and void by Eskom. Koko would resume his duties on Monday as head of generation, while Govender would be re-instated as head of group capital after a "dodgy" disciplinary process cleared them of all charges, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said on Saturday.

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For over 10 years the Eskom board and management team had been characterised by gross mismanagement, wasteful expenditure, and corruption. Instead of dealing decisively with the looters, the board had found creative ways to reward thievery and fraudulent behaviour. 

Interim board chairperson Zithembe Khoza had been accused of asking State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to bribe the evidence leader at the parliamentary inquiry into allegations of state capture and corruption at Eskom in order to derail the hearings. Acting CEO Sean Maritz was also disciplined for nepotism in the past.

"The Eskom board is clearly showing the people of South Africa the middle finger by allowing these compromised executives to return to their positions. It seems the disciplinary process was a mockery and an insult to all those who believe in good corporate governance and transparency in the running of state-owned enterprises [SoEs],” Jim said.,

Thus, Numsa repeated its call for the boards of all SoEs, and in particular the board at Eskom, to be scrapped. The only way to guarantee good, clean governance was for the SoE board to be made up of representatives from labour, civil society, business, and the state.

"Numsa will be consulting lawyers to see what legal options we have to counter the seemingly bogus disciplinary process. Furthermore, together with the United Front, we will intensify the campaign against Eskom and the culture of corruption through more pickets and demonstrations. We will also put pressure on the power utility to deal decisively with the racist wage gap which continues unabated in the workplace. It is shameful that in 2018 this is still a problem at Eskom," Jim said.