On Tuesday, suspended Group Executive: Group Capital, Abram Masango, was found not guilty of the disciplinary charges which were levelled against him.

The verdict was made by Tim Bruinders SC, appointed by Eskom to chair a Disciplinary Hearing convened to consider disciplinary charges levelled against Masango.

“Eskom respects the outcome of the disciplinary process held for Masango and will negotiate a date for his return to Eskom with him in due course,” commented Phakamani Hadebe, Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive.

Eskom explained in a statement that Masango was placed on suspension on 15 November 2017, he was the Group Executive: Group Capital at the time of his suspension. He was on suspension when the new Board assumed its office in late January 2018.

The utility explained that the charges levelled against Masango arose from a forensic investigation initiated in 2017. The draft forensic report, issued in late January 2018, made allegations of serious misconduct against Masango.

Disciplinary process

The parastatal noted that “the new Board swiftly commenced with the disciplinary process and appointed an independent chairperson to ensure that these serious charges were subjected to a proper enquiry. Masango was represented by Senior Counsel at the Disciplinary Hearing which was held before Mr Bruinders SC over four days in March and April 2018.”

“This approach is in line with the new Board’s efforts to ensure due process is followed when allegations of serious misconduct are leveled against employees, including Executives, and is central to the new Board’s commitment to rooting out corruption within Eskom and implementing an effective turnaround strategy to restore investor confidence.

“The Eskom Board believes that it acted in the best interests of Eskom in following due process and allowing the law to take its course,” the state-owned utility said.

“Our starting point has never been subjecting any employee to a disciplinary process with a predetermined outcome but to look at all allegations with a fresh pair of eyes and ensure that a fair, thorough and independent process is undertaken in line with any employee’s contract of employment,” commented Hadebe.

Enforcing good governance

When the new Board assumed its role in January 2018 there were seven Executives who were facing allegations of corruption or other forms of serious misconduct, Masango was one of these Executives, the utility explained. Read more: SA Government appoints new Eskom Board to restore governance

The firm added that the new Board immediately took steps to ensure all implicated Executives were properly and swiftly subjected to a full disciplinary process to properly test the strength of the allegations against them and allow them to put up a defense to such allegations.  Read more: Top execs under fire at Eskom

Eskom stressed that it remains of priority to the Board to pursue, within the South African legal framework, those who are alleged to have been in some of the critical governance lapses as the first step in combating corruption.