HomeIndustry SectorsFinance and PolicyCity Power MD gets the boot in order to restore good governance

City Power MD gets the boot in order to restore good governance

On Monday, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba announced that managing director of Johannesburg’s power utility City Power has been relieved with immediate effect.

Findings of a forensic report presented to City Power’s board last week, highlighted that managing director Sicelo Xulu displayed series misconduct.

Engineering News reported that Xulu was placed on special leave in February. Read more…

City Power MD relieved of duties

“This decision – which I fully support – will begin the process of restoring good governance and ending corruption at the power utility,” Mashaba noted.

He added: “Weak corporate governance and corruption at City Power have for too long been allowed to rob our residents of much needed service delivery.”

Citing Mashaba, Engineering News reported that the Board would ordinarily institute a disciplinary hearing, however Xulu’s contract will expire in August and as such the city would not be able to complete a disciplinary hearing.

[quote]Mashaba said he has instructed the city’s forensic and investigation unit to keep all relevant information for possible future criminal charges against city officials implicated, media reported.

He stressed that weak governance has been made evident by alleged corruption and gross mismanagement of the Eldorado Park and Hopefield substation contracts.

“Millions of Rands were paid to a contractor who has not performed the work required,” Mashaba said.

“Had City Power’s governance and management systems not been eroded by corruption, quality services would have been delivered to the residents of these communities.”

Sicelo Xulu responds to allegations of misconduct

In a personal letter to the media, Xulu said:

“A number of media releases have been issued by representatives of the City of Johannesburg in respect of the allegations that there is corruption within City Power. Many statements have been implying that I am corrupt or am in some way involved in gross misconduct. Most notably, no detail whatsoever is given in these press releases, despite reports that the SNG forensic investigation has been concluded.

City Power informed me recently that they do not intend to institute disciplinary proceedings against me but that in the interests of City Power I am released from my obligations to tender my services but they would honour their obligations to me until the termination of my fixed term contract which occurs on 31 August 2017.

The enquiry into allegations of alleged corruption made against myself and others was initiated in this instance by the City of Johannesburg in January 2017. Many of these allegations made against me are not new, having been the subject matter of previous investigations and reviews by reputable professional institutions such as a well-established auditing and forensic firm, a leading law firm, practicing advocates and also by the Auditor General, all of which concluded that I was not implicated in any impropriety whatsoever.

While the City of Johannesburg wished to suspend me at that time, the Board of City Power was of the view that there was no evidence available which would justify my suspension. While there was talk of new evidence being available, this was not provided to City Power by the City of Johannesburg and on that basis City Power had no legal basis to suspend me.

To facilitate the investigation and in the belief that this would clear my name again, I proposed to the the Board of City Power that I would take special leave and would have an opportunity to present my input into the investigation report when this became available. I subsequently participated in an interview with the investigators and provided them with substantial information and willingly answered all queries that they raised with me.

Although I have requested it [the SNG Forensic report], I have not to date been provided with a copy of the investigation report and therefore have no knowledge whatsoever of the findings or whether there are in fact any allegations of impropriety on my behalf.

As recently as today [5 July], I suggested in a letter to City Power that we could meet in order to discuss the allegations made against me and others in the investigation report as I have nothing to hide as I have had no involvement whatsoever in corruption at City Power or elsewhere. On that aspect, I agree with Mayor Mashaba that corruption must be stamped out and it is for that reason that I am happy to assist City Power to the extent that they may want me to do so.

I am obviously offended that I have been implicated in the media as being corrupt or involved in misconduct when I have not been favoured with the specificity as to the basis of the alleged investigation findings. I refute these disparaging allegations and have no doubt that if afforded the opportunity to provide my input, any misconception that I am corrupt will be dispelled.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.