Matshela Daily Maverick

An internal disciplinary hearing, chaired by advocate Nazeer Cassim, is to be scheduled for Eskom’s head of generation, Matshela Koko.

This comes yesterday after Eskom said it had abandoned its plan to terminate the suspended executive’s contract for misconduct, gross negligence, corruption and maladministration.

In January, Koko used the Labour Court to challenge Eskom’s ultimatum to either resign or be fired.

The court had granted Koko an interim order restraining the power utility from terminating his contract. The matter was set for a hearing yesterday.

The maladministration allegations related to, among others, failure to follow procurement processes, breaching company policies and conflict of interest in relation to contracts paid by Eskom to McKinsey & Company Africa, Trillian Management Consulting and Impulse International.

Labour court proceeding unnecessary

Eskom’s legal representative, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, urged the Labour Court’s Judge Graham Moshoana to dismiss the application.

Ngcukaitobi said Eskom would be bound by the outcome of Koko’s disciplinary hearing and that an acquittal would bring that matter to a close. “Eskom will be bound by that process,” he said.

He explained that following Eskom’s decision last week to suspend Koko and a commencement of a disciplinary hearing, the Labour Court application had become moot.

“Is it proper for Your Lordship to be burdened with this case? Is it still appropriate for Your Lordship to intervene? It is moot,” he said.

Ngcukaitobi told the Labour Court it was not in Eskom’s interest to fire Koko without following a disciplinary process. “At a certain point in time, Eskom contemplated Koko’s dismissal. Eskom has abandoned that course of action,” he said.

Disciplinary hearing will set clear path

In an answering affidavit, Eskom acting chief executive Phakamani Hadebe said, upon receiving the urgent application to the Labour Court, the power utility commenced with a disciplinary process against Koko.

“As matters stand, it is not the intention of Eskom to dismiss Koko without following a disciplinary inquiry. The dismissal of Koko will depend on the findings and recommendation of (Cassim),” said Hadebe.

According to Hadebe, Koko’s hearing would be conducted expeditiously, fairly and lawfully. He said Koko and Eskom’s legal representatives met on Monday to discuss the modalities of the inquiry.

Koko’s legal representative, Frans Barrie, argued that Eskom had not “unequivocally” abandoned its previous position to fire Koko. Barrie urged the court to rule on the matter, saying the power utility could go back on its word in future.

“We do not know what the situation will be in future. Eskom’s position is that it is entitled to dismiss Koko on the basis of allegations. They have not abandoned their viewpoint. This is a live dispute you have to resolve,” said Barrie. Read more: Top execs under fire at Eskom

 

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Featured image: Matshele Koko. Source: Daily Maverick