New power-util­ity boss hired church buddy

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By SIPHE MACANDA and MZI­LIKAZI wa AFRIKA

The new act­ing Eskom CEO, Sean Maritz, right, hired a friend and fel­low church mem­ber at a salary of about R100 000 a month with­out declar­ing their friend­ship.

The Sun­day Times can re­veal that in 2010 Maritz, then Eskom’s IT man­ager, was slapped with a “writ­ten warn­ing” for em­ploy­ing his friend An­dre Coet­zee in the same de­part­ment on a six­month con­tract.

Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown ap­pointed Maritz on Fri­day de­spite be­ing e-mailed doc­u­ments on Septem­ber 15 de­tail­ing his record of trans­gres­sions. For­mer Eskom chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer Vir­gil Humphrey Ra­bie said yes­ter­day that he was sus­pended be­fore he could take ac­tion against Maritz. “I was about to charge Sean with six counts for gross Eskom pol­icy trans­gres­sions be­fore a dis­ci­plinary was in­sti­tuted against me and I was sus­pended for a year on bo­gus charges,” Ra­bie said. Ra­bie was dis­missed in 2010 for sim­i­lar trans­gres­sions and is ap­peal­ing his sus­pen­sion in the Labour Court.

Stephen Len­non, man­ag­ing direc­tor for cor­po­rate ser­vices, chaired Maritz’s dis­ci­plinary in­quiry. Len­non wrote: “[In the] re­cruit­ment of Mr An­dre Coet­zee in your de­part­ment, you failed to de­clare your re­la­tion­ship with him as pro­vided for in terms of Eskom’s con­flict of in­ter­est pol­icy. By fail­ing to de­clare you have con­tra­vened the pol­icy”.

After con­sid­er­ing all the facts dur­ing the dis­ci­plinary in­quiry, I have de­cided to give you a sanc­tion of six months’ writ­ten warn­ing. You are fur­ther warned that any re­peat of this mis­con­duct may re­sult in stronger dis­ci­plinary ac­tion be­ing taken against you.”

In re­ply to ques­tions from the Sun­day Times, Maritz said: “I do not in­tend to re­spond to your ques­tions and I re­serve my rights to do so should it be­come nec­es­sary.

“I have not had any con­tact with [his sus­pended pre­de­ces­sor, Mat­shela] Koko since he has been on sus­pen­sion. I re­ject with con­tempt the al­le­ga­tions made.”

Two Eskom ex­ec­u­tives yes­ter­day told the Sun­day Times that Maritz al­legedly deleted ev­i­dence im­pli­cat­ing Gupta com­pa­nies in con­tro­ver­sial deals with Eskom.

“Sean deleted elec­tronic in­for­ma­tion from the server link­ing [for­mer act­ing CEO Mat­shela] Koko to the Gup­tas, this in­cluded Tril­lian and Tegeta trans­ac­tions. Koko uses Sean to mon­i­tor other Eskom em­ploy­ees,” one of the ex­ec­u­tives said.

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