South Africa power utility Eskom confirmed on Friday that it had served whistleblower Suzanne Daniels with new disciplinary charges for "serious misconduct" and then prevented her from returning to work. 

Daniels, Eskom's suspended head of legal compliance, has had a rough ride with the utility since she exposed meetings she had with controversial businessman Ajay Gupta on how he was planning to exert his influence at Eskom and capture the utility.

Last week, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that Daniels' suspension undertaken by the previous Eskom board was unfair, and that Eskom was guilty of unfair labour practice in its two attempts to suspend her in October and December last year.

The CCMA awarded Daniels five months' remuneration as compensation and ordered that she be allowed to return to work on Monday next week.

On Friday,  Eskom said that it respected this ruling and has not made a final decision on whether it will review this decision or any aspects of it. 

But in accepting it, Eskom said that the CCMA did not make any ruling on the disciplinary charges that were put to her last year and as such a disciplinary process in regard to those charges were continuing. 

Daniels was this week served with new disciplinary charges which relate to serious misconduct which she is alleged to have committed in, amongst other things, distribution of confidential information, settlement of the McKinsey/Trillian matter and payments made to McKinsey and Trillian, as well as her involvement in the Optimum and Tegeta prepayments and guarantee issued by Eskom.  

In a statement, Eskom said that the new board was approaching the new and existing charges related to Daniels with a fresh mind and must act in the best interests of Eskom when serious charges of misconduct by any employee are uncovered. 

"Eskom believes that given her position, the serious nature of the charges and the ongoing investigations Eskom is undertaking, it would not be correct for Ms Daniels to return to Eskom at this stage. 

"However, Ms Daniels was given an opportunity this week to make representations regarding why she should not be suspended. She has made representations and Eskom is considering these and will make a decision on whether or not to suspend her in the next couple of days."

 African News Agency/ANA