Eskom axes chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano after hearing
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Cape Town – Eskom has dismissed its chief procurement officer (CPO), Solly Tshitangano, with immediate effect following a guilty verdict in his disciplinary process.
The power utility said in a statement on Friday that he had been charged with gross misconduct, breach of duties and non-performance. He was suspended in February for a failure to submit key strategic and regulatory documents on time, abusive or insolent behaviour to his boss, and failing to report irregularities as soon as he became aware of them.
Tshitangano, who had failed to turn around Eskom's procurement division, elected not to give evidence in his own defence. Eskom had relied on the evidence of two witnesses and the forensic findings of law firm Bowmans.
His legal representatives got a chance to cross-examine Eskom's witnesses. Although his legal team argued that Tshitangano was a whistle-blowing victim, the disciplinary committee chairperson dismissed that, saying it was an attempt to divert attention from Tshitangano's conduct.
#Eskom #MediaStatement— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) May 28, 2021
Eskom dismisses Chief Procurement Officer Solly Tshitangano with immediate effect following a guilty verdict in his disciplinary process@SABCNews@eNCA@ewnupdates @SundayTimesZA @News24 @SowetanLIVE @IOL pic.twitter.com/o4iJNCKAOG
The chairperson ruled that there was no choice but to dismiss Tshitangano, who had accused Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter of “racist handling of black officials and black suppliers who were subjected to continuous harassment”.
"The chairman dismissed the defence based on protected disclosure, finding that it was rather an attempt on the part of the CPO to divert attention from his conduct.
"He found Mr Tshitangano guilty on five charges: serious misconduct in failing to carry out his duties; contravening the Public Finance Management Act; and for contravening Eskom’s Disciplinary Code in that he divulged confidential information to external parties," Eskom said.
Tshitangano was also accused of failing to disclose his relationship with the utility's supplier. News24 reported after investigations that Tshitangano had supported and awarded more than R8 billion of contracts to Econ Oil in 2019 despite evidence of impropriety and possible corruption involving Econ and Eskom officials at his disposal.
"The chairman of the hearing, an independent advocate, determined that he would provide the CPO with an opportunity to answer to the supplementary misconduct charges relating to Econ Oil’s relationship with Eskom and the apparent support by the CPO of the continuation of that relationship after he had joined Eskom in early 2019, before ruling on the protected disclosure application,’’ Eskom said.
In 2005, Tshitangano faced a disciplinary hearing for 11 charges of misconduct while chief director at the Mpumalanga provincial treasury. He was later shifted to the office of the premier.
Tshitangano was subsequently appointed as a senior manager in the finance section of the Limpopo department of basic education. He acted as the chief financial officer of the department in 2011 when he blew the lid on alleged corruption in a multimillion-rand tender to supply the department with learner and teacher support material .
The contract was eventually cancelled and resulted in the department failing to deliver workbooks, textbooks and exercise books to hundreds of pupils across Limpopo.