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

Durban - A war of words between former Eskom chief executive officer Matshela Koko and the embattled power utility’s newly appointed spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha broke out on Twitter over the weekend, with Mantshantsha even referring to Koko as a “Gupta bi**h”.

Koko and Mantshantsha have previously engaged in numerous heated debates on the popular social media platform and their spat reached a crescendo on Friday when Eskom posted a statement updating the public on Stage 2 rotational load shedding for the weekend and the coming week (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 bi**h!” and the comment drew criticism from some Twitter users. 

Koko responded to Mantshantsha saying that his language showed signs of frustration. 

“It was bound to be. Lies and agendas have short legs. The difference this time is that people have the report and they are reading it for themselves. They see right through you and your buddies.” 

To this, Mantshantsha responded: “While you’re busy playing with your balls at home waiting to be arrested?” as the pair escalated the already intense argument.

Twitter user @ali_naka posted a screenshot of Matshela Koko's comment.

Koko then volleyed back in another tweet, saying that he understood Mantshantsha’s frustrations.

“They will soon be over, once you’re arrested and convicted for corruption and theft,” Mantshantsha fired back.  

Senzeni Marasela (@ArtistSenzeni): “Do all spokesman have such colorful language? It must be nice to be an Eskom spokesperson, where you can answer in the most disgusting language possible. Throw caution to the win. Such free reign. Next time sizothukwa mos here.” 

Africa (@ali_naka) wrote: “This is the danger of hiring compromised individuals, with embedded interests, individual interests, deployed by a cabal in positions which require sobriety, clarity of thought, professionalism and objectivity! Why is your spokesperson so emotional, unstable and abusive @Eskom_SA.”  

A screenshot of the Twitter war of words was posted by @ali_naka.

On Saturday, Mantshantsha tweeted an apology to his followers for the language that he used in response to Koko’s initial tweet, although he did not tag Koko in the apology.

“Friends, please accept my unconditional apologies for the colorful word I used in response to this tweet.” 

Mantshantsha, former Financial Mail deputy editor, was appointed as Eskom’s new spokesperson last month. 

Following his appointment, he penned an opinion piece in the Daily Maverick in which he quipped: “Now that my service to the craft of journalism has come to an end, for now, and in this form, I regret not stepping on more toes than I actually did. Over the past 15 years of dedicating my life to the Fourth Estate, there were always more stories to tell, so much to do, and so little time.”

Political Bureau