Image source: Waldo Swiegers. Bloomberg

The Eskom board has acknowledged receipt of correspondences from Corruption Watch, an anti-corruption civil society organisation, dated 11 March 2020, and from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), dated 12 and 18 March 2020.

In a company statement, Eskom notes that the correspondence from both organisations articulates allegations of corruption and victimisation against the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

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Both organisations cite the same source, an Eskom employee who has since deposed to an affidavit to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, as having raised the allegations.

In the correspondence, the organisations implore the Eskom Board to intervene and act to protect the whistleblower.

The power company said: “Many of the allegations raised in the letters have not previously been made available to the executive management and the board of Eskom. These letters also follow the publication of recent media articles that continue to refer to some of the allegations.

“From the onset, it must be stated categorically that Eskom’s executive management and the board stand firmly against corruption, victimisation and abuse of power. Whistleblowers are a key instrument in the fight against all these excesses, and Eskom endeavours to accord them due protection and encouragement at all material times. We also stand resolutely for transparency, good corporate governance, good ethics and being a fair employer.

Eskom board addresses new allegations

Eskom further stated it has previously dealt with matters concerning the employee in question, and after an investigation led by an outside senior counsel, the investigation was closed following a thorough examination of the allegations, to which no substance was found.

However, in light of the new allegations as articulated in the Corruption Watch and SAFTU letters, including the alleged abuse of power, “the board of Eskom has taken urgent steps to address these allegations in a transparent process following Eskom’s governance principles and disciplinary codes.

“These processes are invoked in a fair and consistent manner whenever there is prima facie evidence that misconduct has been committed, and this is done without fear, favour or prejudice of the position of the employee involved,” the company said.

In the best interest of Eskom and both the complainant and the COO, the power utility says its board has engaged the services of an independent senior counsel to investigate the allegations against the COO, and upon conclusion of such an investigation, to provide recommendations to the board.

“It is hoped that the conclusion of such an investigation, together with any subsequent actions that may be required, will bring about a fair and lasting resolution to the matter for all parties concerned,” the statement concluded.