MPs hear of tension, infighting at Eskom over procurement issues

The parastatal’s former CEO Tshediso Matona told Parliament’s Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee about tensions.

FILE: Tshediso Matona during his time as Eskom CEO. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - MPs have heard that Eskom board members were fighting over procurement issues creating a “sordid” and almost dysfunctional environment during a period of looming load shedding.

The parastatal’s former CEO Tshediso Matona told Parliament’s Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee about tension and infighting on the board when he took over in October 2014.

Matona was suspended by the board five months after his appointment.

Matona, who had been appointed to lead Eskom several months after Brian Dames resigned, described walking into a tense climate at the parastatal from the onset.

“That could have been one of the reasons why the shareholder chose to replace that board. So I am aware of some of those things that were brewing by the time I got there.”

He told lawmakers that Eskom was faced with financial and operational problems as neglected power plants were breaking down.

Matona was suspended five months later by the board that had been overhauled by newly-appointed Minister Lynne Brown in December 2014.

When Matona succeeded in getting a court to declare his suspension unfair, his case was referred to the CCMA for arbitration.

But he soon realised that board members didn’t want him back because he didn't "fit" into their plans.

WATCH: Eskom inquiry underway in Parliament

Matona has described his decision to leave the parastatal as walking away from a “sorry and sordid episode” in his life.

He has been testifying in the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom about his brief tenure at the power utility between October 2014 and his untimely suspension five months later.

Matona told the committee that he was suspended a few months after Brown overhauled the board in December 2014.

"The suspension came as a complete shock, particularly the suspension by a board that had just only taken office."

Although Matona succeeded in getting a court to declare that his suspension was unfair, he didn’t have the appetite to continue fighting Eskom, claiming the board didn’t want him to return.

Matona left with a healthy pay-out, but he is refusing to call it a “golden handshake”, telling MPs there was nothing golden about it.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)