Eskom: Nothing sinister about suspending executives

An inquiry will look into the state of Eskom, its generating plants, delays & cash flow problems.

Eskom Chairman Zola Tsotsi addressing the media and staff after the utility called an emergency press briefing at its Megawatt Park this morning. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says there's nothing sinister about its decision to suspend four of the utility's top executives, including chief executive Tshediso Matona.

The parastatal's chairperson, Zola Tsotsi, made the announcement at Megawatt Park on Thursday morning.

"It's a suspension only in a way that the inquiry can happen without any influence. There is no sinister or hidden agenda by the board. We set up to proceed with the inquiry and get it going."

Tsotsi said the four executives were suspended following several meetings with the board this week.

He added that during the long soul-searching meetings it was decided that those four executives should step down, while the inquiry was held over the next three months.

"This was done in the best interests of our stakeholders," Tsotsi told the media.

The chairperson said the independent commission of inquiry was "a fact-finding inquiry".

"If in the process of the inquiry wrongdoing is found, then it will be attended to."

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

Tsotsi said the state of Eskom, the performance of generating plants, delays and cash flow problems would all form part of the inquiry.

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

The chairperson said the suspended executives would be allowed to take part in the inquiry, but wouldn't have to produce evidence as this was not an investigation.

In recent months, the utility has limped from one crisis to the next, sparking concerns about its leadership's ability to generate the power needed to keep the country running.

Over the past few months, Eskom has struggled to keep the lights on and yesterday there were reports of the power utility being forced to retrench workers.