'Eskom has not lost faith in CEO Tshediso Matona'

Four executives, including CEO Tshediso Matona, have been asked to step aside during a fact-finding inquiry.

Eskom's chairperson Zola Tsotsi. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom on Thursday said it had not lost confidence in its CEO Tshediso Matona who has been asked to step aside it has simply established a fact-finding inquiry.

Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi said four executives, including CEO Tshediso Matona, had been asked to step aside to ensure that an independent inquiry into the challenges facing Eskom was transparent and uninhibited.

Tsotsi insisted there was no malice or any charges linked to the suspensions.

"This is an honest, down-to-earth inquiry to establish facts. The situation of losing confidence in the current CEO is not an issue. The answer is simply, no."

Tsotsi said the inquiry would focus on the poor performance of generation plants, delays in bringing in the new power stations online and cash flow challenges.

He further went on to say there was no crisis, just a set of challenges that Eskom needed to deal with.

In the meantime, Zethembe Khoza, a non-executive board member, would assume the role of acting CEO.


Energy expert Chris Yelland explained why he thought they'd been suspended.

"Perhaps the suspension of the four executives has got to do with the fact that they were opposed to the appointment of an independent inquiry."

Yelland added that an inquiry may help Eskom move forward.

"There's a new board of directors taking the place of the previous board, I think they're beginning to assert themselves, they want an independent commission of inquiry."

Former Eskom employee and mining analyst Ted Blom says this should have happened a long time ago.

"In fact, I called for a commission of inquiry more than two years ago and this is really the tip of the iceberg. It's a step that if held, far more detail will surface."

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, meanwhile, said she supported the board's decision to establish an inquiry and the suspension of the four executives.

Brown says the four executives had to step aside to allow the board to have greater oversight into Eskom.

"The suspension is not punitive; they just wanted unfettered access to the information. Information is not forthcoming from Eskom."

Brown said Eskom had been taking it's time to investigate matters which needed urgent intervention.

"To have an explosion a couple of months ago, is this going to take them three months to investigate it? The report is still not done. Majuba [Power Station]… it's taken them three months to do the investigation and the report is still not done."

The minister says the utility has more than enough experienced staff that will make sure that the decision doesn't affect the parastatal's day to day business.

Listen: Lynn Brown sheds light on Eskom issue