Daniels' future at Eskom
Featured image: Parliament of SA

Whistle-blower Suzanne Daniels will not resume her role at South Africa’s power utility after the CCMA ruled last week that Eskom’s suspension was unfair.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that Daniels’ suspension undertaken by Eskom’s previous board was unfair, and that the utility was guilty of unfair labour practice in its two attempts to suspend her in October and December last year.

However, the power utility confirmed in a statement on Friday that it had served its suspended head of legal services with new disciplinary charges for “serious misconduct” and prevented her from returning to work.

Daniels had exposed meetings she had with controversial businessman Ajay Gupta on how he was planning to exert his influence at Eskom and capture the utility.

Daniels’ future at Eskom does not look bright

In a statement issued on Friday, Eskom said it respected the CCMA ruling; however, has not made a final decision on whether it will review this decision or any aspects of it.

The CCMA, in making its ruling last week, did not make any ruling on the disciplinary charges that were put to her [Daniels] in 2017 and as such a disciplinary process in regard to those charges is continuing.”

The utility continued: “In addition, Ms Daniels was served with new disciplinary charges this week. These charges relate to serious misconduct which Ms Daniels is alleged to have committed in (amongst other things) distribution of confidential information, settlement of the McKinsey/Trillian matter and payments made to McKinsey and Trillian, as well as her involvement in the Optimum and Tegeta prepayments and guarantee issued by Eskom.”

According to Eskom, the recently appointed Board is aware of the actions which Daniels took in dealing with the McKinsey/Trillian matter in August to October 2017, including investigating payments to these entities and issuing a letter of demand regarding these matters on behalf of the utility.

“These were commendable actions by Ms Daniels, however, notwithstanding these actions, it is still necessary for Eskom to address Ms Daniels’ actions and conduct in relation to the serious matters contained in the additional charges of misconduct against her,” the statement explained.

Whilst-blower’s career remains in peril

The new Board at Eskom is approaching the new and existing charges related to Daniels with a fresh mind and must act in the best interests of Eskom when serious charges of misconduct by any employee are uncovered, the utility stated.

Eskom believes that given Daniels’ position, the serious nature of the charges and the ongoing investigations that Eskom is undertaking, it would not be correct for the executive to return to work at this stage.

However, Daniels was given an opportunity this week to make representations regarding why she should not be suspended.

“She has made representations and Eskom is considering these and will make a decision on whether or not to suspend her in the next couple of days,” the utility advised. Read more: NUMSA applies for interdict to block Eskom from signing IPP contracts

African Utility Week