The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday called for the reinstatement of Johnny Dladla as acting chief executive at South African power utility Eskom, and threatened to embark on industrial action to protest against perceived corruption and wage inequality at the company.
Eskom on Friday appointed its chief information officer and group executive for information technology, Sean Maritz, as its interim group chief executive with immediate effect.
He replaced Dladla who occupied the role of interim group chief executive for four months following the suspension of another interim group chief executive, Matshela Koko. Dladla has resumed his role as the CEO of Eskom Rotek Industries (ERI).
Eskom is filling the top job on a rotational basis, but said it would in due course begin recruiting a permanent chief executive. It stressed that this was crucial for organisational stability.
But the NUM, a key stakeholder at the power utility’s coal mines, said the rotation system was a bid to circumvent control systems so that corruption would not be detected.
NUM energy sector coordinator Paris Mashego said the union had been reliably informed that Dladla was removed after he declared on a public platform that he was going to recoup money that was unlawful payments to McKinsey and Trillian of R1 billion and R564 million respectively.
“The sins of the current executive committee team and acting group CEO Mr Johnny Dladla was to declare the McKinsey contract unlawful, invalid and void. The NUM support exco on its decision to recover funds unlawfully paid to McKinsey and Trillian,” Mashego said.
A report compiled by Eskom and G9 Forensics found that Trillian Capital Partners, owned by the politically connected Gupta family, and McKinsey made R1.6 billion in fees with an additional R7.8 billion to made from future contracts.
Eskom also admitted that it lied in parliament about its relationship with these companies after months of defending the payments.
Mashego said Eskom chairperson Zithembe Khoza must “stop destabilising” the power utility and reinstate Dladla as an acting group CEO with full executive powers until a permanent CEO was appointed.
He said the exco working with the board must jointly pursue the recovery of funds from McKinsey and Trillian with immediate effect, and that public enterprises minister, Lynne Brown, must intervene immediately.
Mashego said the NUM would convene a national shop steward council to decide the form of industrial action it would pursue.