Former Eskom executive Matshela Koko. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)
Former Eskom executive Matshela Koko. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom urged to take action over spokesperson's 'Gupta b***h' Twitter rant

By SAMKELO MTSHALI Time of article published Feb 10, 2020

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Johannesburg - Eskom should rebuke its newly appointed spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha and issue him with a formal warning for his Twitter rant in which he called the troubled power utility’s former CEO Matshela Koko a “Gupta bi**h” during a fiery online exchange at the weekend.  

This is the view of political analyst Jamie Mighti, who said that Mantshantsha’s conduct online had been “a bit unfortunate because of the position that he occupies”.

Koko and Mantshantsha were embroiled in an intense exchange on Friday after Eskom posted a statement updating the public on stage 2 rotational loadshedding for the weekend and this week. 

Koko retweeted the post and commented: “Soon we are going to give you, @SikhonathiM a middle name, ‘Loadshedding’.” 

Mantshantsha quickly retorted: “Better than Gupta bitch!”. The comment drew criticism from some Twitter users. 

“Even if there is animosity between the two of them from their previous interactions...Koko is not a fan of this new dispensation and administration, but as a spokesperson for a state-owned enterprise, you are to conduct yourself in a certain way.

“This is especially because he (Mantshantsha) used to comment a lot, as well, on Eskom in his personal capacity, so there’s always been this relationship with his defence of Eskom, but now that he’s the official spokesperson he can’t be swearing at people online,” Mighti said.

He said that given Eskom’s problems, international communities, including ratings agencies, were watching the power utility’s every move and trying to make assessments about the organisation, therefore its official spokesperson should not be putting it in a bad light.

Despite Mantshantsha’s apology to his Twitter followers, on Saturday, for the language that he had used in response to Koko’s initial tweet, Mighti said that Eskom should consider taking action against Mantshantsha by issuing him with an official warning. 

“It’s the first offence of this nature (by Mantshantsha as Eskom spokesperson), I wouldn’t advise a stern disciplinary process. But I do think he needs to get a first warning, a formal warning, just so that he understands that this is a different position that he’s occupying now as opposed to before where he was tweeting freely,” Mighti said. 

He said that an official apology had to be issued and that Mantshantsha’s employer (Eskom) should also reprimand him for his tweet.

Political Bureau

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