Tuesday, 09 March 2021
Johannesburg: The Eskom Board has announced on Tuesday that it will appoint an independent Senior Counsel to probe racism allegations against its Group Chief Executive André de Ruyter.
According to the statement, this follows racism allegations made in the public domain against De Ruyter.
Suspended Chief Procurement Officer Solly Tshitangano has accused the Group Chief Executive (GCE) and other managers of helping purge black suppliers, in favour of white suppliers.
Last week, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) said it would investigate a complaint against De Ruyter by Tshitangano.
“The allegation not only brings Eskom into disrepute, but it also threatens to detract and distract the focus of the Executive Team and the GCE in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability,” the Eskom statement read.
“The Counsel will be empowered to interview any person that may be of assistance in the probe, and consider any evidence, and will then report back to the Board and make recommendations.”
The Board said the investigation will establish the veracity and the basis of the allegation.
Meanwhile, the team said it unanimously and unequivocally stands against racism and sexism, and for transformation and employment equity.
“Simultaneously, however, the Board has instructed the executive to promote a high-performance culture to enable the critically important turnaround at Eskom to be delivered as soon as possible.”
The Board has since called on anyone who may feel aggrieved due to racist or sexist behaviour to come forward.
“This must be raised by using the well-established internal grievance processes, which will ensure that such allegations are properly investigated, and if found to be warranted, will result in disciplinary action in accordance with labour law, against the perpetrator of such unacceptable behaviour.”
The Board said it was grateful to the majority of Eskom employees who work hard in fulfilling their duties, which are of national importance in providing reliable and affordable electricity to South Africa.
“The Board is committed to transparency and will provide updates at critical stages of the investigation.”