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Big business bashes Koko's reinstatement

Jan 05 2018 06:00
Carin Smith and Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town - The reinstatement of suspended Eskom executives Matshela Koko and Prish Govender "flies in the face of the rule of law", Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said on Thursday.

BLSA, an independent association whose members include the leaders of some of SA’s biggest organisations, reacted to the news on Wednesday that Koko and Govender will resume their respective duties of head of generation and acting head of group capital.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 on Wednesday that they have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Koko faced a disciplinary hearing over allegedly not declaring a conflict of interest while his stepdaughter Koketso Choma was a director at Impulse International, a firm which benefited from about R1bn worth of contracts awarded by Eskom over 11 months. Govender was implicated regarding monies paid to consulting firm McKinsey in a contract which has been declared unlawful and void by Eskom.

In the view of the BLSA, the reinstatements of Koko and Govender goes against the principle of holding executives accountable. It also weakens efforts by business and labour to work with government in restoring confidence in the SA economy, the forum said in a statement.

"Mr Koko, who was until now been undergoing a sham internal disciplinary inquiry of serious allegations of failure to declare conflict of interest, has yet to answer satisfactorily to these and claims made against him by Parliament's inquiry into governance failures at Eskom," said the BLSA.

In its view, the reinstatement shows a "poor grasp of governance" by Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown and of Eskom's important role in the economy.

The BLSA called for a complete overhaul of those Eskom board members and executives who are captured in its view.

DA MP Natasha Mazzone told Fin24 the party is deeply concerned with the continued "lack of proper corporate governance" at Eskom.

"We should have proper details of their [Koko and Govender] hearings and the full findings should be made public. Koko's hearing was an obvious sham that played out in public, it should have been stopped and restarted with correct procedures being put in place," she said.

"The board members are all compromised and should not be allowed to be making decisions about one another."

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