Scopa suspends meeting with Eskom, allegations against CEO De Ruyter to be probed
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Cape Town – The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday suspended its hearing into the annual report of Eskom to consider a process that will attend to allegations levelled against the utility’s chief executive Andre de Ruyter.
The decision was taken by members of the committee after they received correspondence from Eskom’s chief procurement officer, Solly Tshitangano, on Tuesday.
The committee had expected Tshitangano, who is now suspended, to be part of the delegation to account for the deviations and expansion of contracts that led to irregular expenditure in the 2019/20 financial year.
The committee discussed his absence at the meeting at length and the need for him to answer some of the questions.
Scopa then also decided to start its own investigations into the allegations that Tshitangano made against De Ruyter.
Committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they suspended the meeting pending the finalisation of the processes to explore the legal challenges involved.
“We will be in communication with the ministry, the department, the board and executives so that we can find mutual time and space consistent with Parliament’s programme,” Hlengwa said.
Earlier, board chairperson Malegapuru Makgoba told MPs that the board was aware and it has been informed by the executive management that Tshitangano has been suspended.
“There is a disciplinary inquiry by an independent process that is going to take place. The history of this matter stretches over a year,” Makgoba said.
He also said there have been exchanges of letters between himself, the Office of the President, the Office of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and others.
“As matters stand, we are in a process of a disciplinary inquiry against the CPO. I urge we all observe that internal process and await its outcome,” Makgoba added.
However, he acknowledged some of the issues confronting the Scopa meeting went to the heart of the procurement process that obviously involved the office of the CPO.
“My humble suggestion to the committee is we leave internal processes at Eskom to take its course and we come back to this committee to give the full interpretation and response as to what has happened,” Makgoba said, adding that there was more to the story than what appears in the correspondence.
Probed by members, Makgoba said there was a process followed at Eskom when there was a complaint and everyone should follow it.
“I received this complaint in February last year. I referred the matter back to executive and the procedure which is now followed,” he said.