File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Johannesburg - Eskom's interim Group Chief Executive Sean Maritz has denied there were any irregularities in the appointment of a friend and fellow church member on a six month contract. 

Maritz came under fire recently after reports emerged he had hired Andre Coetzee at a salary of R100 000 a month on a six month contract. 

According to the Sunday Times, Maritz was slapped with a "written warning" for hiring his friend in the IT department, in which he was a manager at the time, in 2010. 

The power utility in a statement said Maritz acknowledged the oversight but denied there were any irregularities in the six-month contract. 

"He said the awarding of the contract was adjudicated upon by a panel as per Eskom’s internal processes.
 
"Furthermore, Maritz refutes claims that he had deleted some information from the server, adding that the IT security system was built in such a way that no email could be deleted."

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Addressing reports of the written warning he received, Eskom said it expired in 2010, and has been duly expunged.

The utility also addressed the McKinsey issue, saying it had noted the company's statement's regarding the repayment of fees paid to it in 2016. 
 
"Eskom’s lawyers are handling the matter, and will in due course advise on the way forward," the utility said.

Eskom meanwhile, said that Maritz had asked to be given space "to focus on executing his duties as mandated by the Eskom Board, with the support of Public Enterprises Minister.
 
"Maritz said the executive management team remains focused on its five priority initiatives, namely: increasing demand for electricity; reducing primary energy costs; implementing advance analytics to deliver savings; releasing government guarantees; and ensuring the completion of the new build programme."

Eskom appointed Maritz last week as its interim group chief executive in a “rotational basis” of the executive role. He joined the executive committee in June last year after 28 years at Eskom. 

Maritz replaced Johnny Dladla, who occupied the role of interim group chief executive since June following the suspension of another interim group chief executive, Matshela Koko.