Eskom skirts around ‘the rot’
Eskom has ignored legal advice to charge senior officials in the scandal involving suspect payments totalling R1.6bn to global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked Trillian in a selective disciplinary process insiders say is designed to fail.
This has sparked fear that Eskom’s senior leadership, led by acting CEO Johnny Dladla, is more concerned with damagecontrol than rooting out the rot.
Dladla himself has been implicated in the suspect deals with McKinsey and Trillian, but is not facing any sanction. In 2015, Dladla attended at least two of the meetings that selected the consulting firms.
Business Day has learned of a memo circulated among senior management on September 8, recommending the suspension of seven senior Eskom officials over the Trillian and McKinsey payments following an investigation by law firm Bowmans.
Bowmans recommended suspending and disciplining former acting CEO Matshela Koko, who is already on suspension in
an unrelated matter; chief financial officer Anoj Singh; chief procurement officer Edwin Mabelane; acting head of group capital Prish Govender; senior procurement official Charles Kalima; senior commercial manager Dave Gorrie; and Maya Bhana-Naidoo, a GM in Anoj Singh’s office.
It is understood Bowmans drafted a notice of motion a month ago to launch legal proceedings against McKinsey and Trillian to have the contracts set aside but the legal process has ground to a halt.
Last week, Eskom reluctantly converted Singh’s “special leave” into a suspension. It is understood charge sheets were prepared for Kalima, Govender and former head of procurement Edwin Mabelane, but suspension letters had not been handed to them by Friday.
Eskom has, however, let Bhana and Gorrie off the hook. Dladla ignored questions on why he appeared to be protecting Gorrie and Bhana-Naidoo. Gorrie declined to comment and Bhana-Naidoo did not respond to a request for comment.
According to an interim report by Bowmans seen by Business Day, Bhana-Naidoo as GM in the chief financial officer’s office, processed payments for two Trillian invoices totalling R235m in August 2016 without proper supporting documents.
On Sunday, the utility said: “Eskom is in the process of obtaining legal advice to enable it to take steps to recover any amounts spent irregularly with third-party suppliers.
“Eskom has taken disciplinary action against individuals regardless of the positions they hold,” spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.
Eskom had launched an investigation into the allegations of impropriety by some of its senior managers and disciplinary action was initiated against those against whom evidence of misconduct existed.