Oberholzer must be suspended from Eskom, pending a disciplinary process – EFF

Eskom COO, Jan Oberholzer. Image: Twitter / @City_Press

Oberholzer must be suspended, pending a disciplinary process, the party maintains, as he is a shareholder of Stefanuttie Stocks, a company accused of benefitting in overpayments during the construction of Kusile Power Station.

In a relentless attempt to highlight allegations of impropriety against Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer, the EFF will be opening a criminal case against the COO and will approach the court for an order to compel the power utility to act against the COO.

The party, who have continued their efforts calling for the removal of Oberholzer, have noted the release of the investigation by advocate Nazeer Cassiem on the allegations of impropriety against Oberholzer, where the report, according to the party, concludes that Oberlhozer “must be disciplined for a complete disregard of Eskom policies”.

“On the allegations that Oberholzer actively promoted the interest of Aveng, a company that has conducted business with Eskom, and which is now litigating against Eskom, by instructing a subordinate to pay the company an amount of R42 million, advocate Cassiem found Oberlhozer owes a duty of good faith to his employer and recommended that:

A disciplinary process be initiated in order to enable proper ventilation of this issue to be determined in a disciplinary hearing. More so, having in mind the intervention of representatives of the Zonodo Commission who have made, it would appear, certain preliminary findings on this very issue. Eskom must factor into consideration that such payment is presently part of litigation between Eskom and Aveng. However, in the interest of transparency, accountability and fair play, there is no reason why this issue cannot be the subject matter of a disciplinary hearing.”

The party maintains that the report found Oberholzer did not excuse himself from deliberations that concerned Stefannuti Stocks, a company he allegedly had shares in.

“The Eskom board must institute disciplinary proceedings against Oberholzer for flagrant disregard of company policies, and for corruption. They must do this even if the shareholder representatives, Minister Jamnandas (Pravin Gordhan) is still keen on protecting Oberholzer.

“We cannot understand why Eskom has mounted such a spirited defence of Oberholzer and the only conclusion we can arrive at is that it is his white skin that protects him. For far too long, the media and big companies have driven an agenda that seeks to make corruption synonymous with black people. White people are allowed to loot without consequences. Oberholzer is a beneficiary of this twisted logic, which benefits white thieves and protects them from censure.”

Oberholzer must be suspended, pending a disciplinary process, the party maintains, as he is a shareholder of Stefanuttie Stocks, one of the companies accused of benefitting more than R4 billion in overpayments during the construction of Kusile power station.

This comes after a statement issued by Eskom where the utility said a senior counsel cleared Oberholzer of corruption, dishonesty and abuse of power.

Eskom, in April, said the senior counsel found no basis to allegations fo dishonesty, corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of power levelled against Oberholzer with regard to allegations of a conflict of interest regarding Stefanutti Stocks.

“The counsel found that proper disclosure had been made of Oberholzer’s shareholding in Stefanutti Stocks and that ‘this is not a matter in which he should face a disciplinary hearing.’

“In considering the black and Veatch contract, the senior counsel find no fault or other improper conduct on the part of Oberholzer insofar as this transaction is concerned. With reference to the transfer of the alleged whistle-blower, the investigation could find no wrongdoing in the process followed by Oberholzer in this regard.”

The South African Federation of Trade Union has also called for Oberholzer to step down following reports that he was the shareholder to the company that allegedly defrauded the power utility.

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