Eskom chief executive officer, Andre de Ruyter, has been cleared of racism and abuse of power allegations by advocate Ishmale Semenya, the power utility announced on Wednesday.
In a statement, Eskom said its board had “considered Semenya’s report and had no hesitation in accepting it in its entirety”.
“Regarding Mr [Solly] Tshitangano’s allegation that Eskom’s group chief executive Mr De Ruyter was guilty of racism and preferred a white company above another that is black-owned on racial grounds, Semenya reports that Mr Tshitangano denied making these allegations.
“Despite knowing that these allegations of racism were “wrong, egregious, false, baseless, and lacking any substantiation”, the CPO [chief procurement officer] did not publicly deny them.
“Semenya pointed out that ‘as a senior executive at Eskom, the CPO must have known that the nature of these allegations would impair the dignity of the GCE [group chief executive], malign the entire board of Eskom and imperil the corporate standing of Eskom, which is the biggest state-owned company. The allegations could potentially harm Eskom’s financial status’.
“Semenya could find no substantiation for the allegation that the Group Chief Executive has conducted himself in any manner that would amount to racist practice.
In April, the board announced the appointment of Semenya to lead the investigation into allegations of racism against De Ruyter, after the power utility’s former chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano accused De Ruyter of favouring white-owned companies over black-owned companies, among other accusations.
‘Waste of time and money’
In the statement, the Eskom board also lamented the waste of time and money that the probe had been.
“The board notes with serious concern the emerging pattern that when Eskom employees are charged with poor performance and or ill-discipline there is a tendency for them to go public with wild and baseless claims that bring Eskom and its management into disrepute.
“The board deeply regrets the waste of time, money and resources incurred by tax payers as a result of such irresponsible conduct, but assures tax payers and customers that it remains resolute in the pursuit of a high performance culture and transformation at Eskom,” the statement said
Last week, power utility dismissed Solly Tshitangano as its CPO with immediate effect, following a guilty verdict in his disciplinary process.
Tshitangano was found guilty on five charges, which included “serious misconduct in failing to carry out his duties, contravening the Public Finance Management Act [PFMA] and contravening Eskom’s Disciplinary Code in that he divulged confidential information to external parties”.
See the full statement below:
Eskom Board Statement
Racism allegations about Eskom CEO rubbished by Senior Counsel finding. The use of the race card without foundation, merit or substance has no place at Eskom!@News24 @SABCNews @NewzroomAfrika @eNCA @IOL @ewnupdates @SundayTimesZA @SowetanLIVE pic.twitter.com/nt85JqNgpT
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) June 2, 2021
Compiled by Neo Thale. Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa