Eskom CEO challenges his suspension in court

Tshediso Matona and three other executives were suspended two weeks ago.

FILE: Suspended Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona. Picture: Reinart Toerein/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona on Thursday challenged his suspension in the Labour Court, arguing that he hadn't been accused of any wrongdoing and therefore his suspension was unlawful.

Matona and three other executives were suspended two weeks ago for the duration of an independent inquiry into Eskom's affairs.

However, there have been reports this week that the reason behind the suspensions was because Matona and his executives had initiated an audit of the parastatal's tender processes.

The suspended CEO brought forward an urgent application in an attempt to compel the Labour Court to set aside his suspension.

Matona has been tight-lipped about his sudden departure two weeks ago, but it's since emerged that he believed the matter was unfair.

He's taken it further by lodging a complaint at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), but because the process could take time, he's approached the court in order to be reinstated.

Eskom's legal team has argued that the suspension is for a maximum of three months to ensure the inquiry goes ahead without interference or influence.

Watch: Tsotsi: Nothing 'sinister' about Eskom suspensions

'TSOTSI MUST STEP DOWN'

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday called on Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi to do what it said was "the right thing" and step down.

The NUM objected to his appointment to the utility's board from the beginning and urged Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to take action against him if he refused to step aside.

The Union's Frans Baleni said now was not the time to play games.

"For us it's not about what the board says. We have said from the beginning after the announcement that he had been reappointed that that was a wrong appointment. How can a non-executive chairperson commit to a supplier that Eskom will pay a supplier when he does not have such executive authority?"

Baleni said it wasn't negotiable and that Tsotsi had to step down.

"It is very clear there is unethical conduct from the chairperson or he clearly does not understand good governance where he can actually operate as an executive chairperson, committing Eskom to certain liabilities."