The Eskom board has initiated an investigation into allegations of racism against the Group’s Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter.
In a letter written to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan last month, suspended chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano accused De Ruyter of favouring white-owned companies over black-owned companies without any investigation. He was also accused of purging black managers.
According to spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha, the board will appoint an independent senior counsel to conduct the investigation.
The counsel will interview people and consider any evidence, and then report back to the board and make recommendations.
“The allegation not only brings Eskom into disrepute, but it also threatens to detract and distract the focus of the Executive Team and the GCE in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability.
“The Board unanimously and unequivocally stands against racism and sexism, and for transformation and employment equity. Simultaneously, however, the Board has instructed the executive to promote a high-performance culture to enable the critically important turnaround at Eskom to be delivered as soon as possible,” said Mantshantsha.
The power utility has urged anyone who has experienced racism or sexism to raise concerns using the internal grievance process, which, according to Mantshantha, will ensure that such allegations are properly investigated.
If found to be warranted, the investigation will result in disciplinary action in accordance with labour law, against the perpetrator of such unacceptable behaviour.
“The board is aware of, and grateful to the majority of Eskom employees who work hard in fulfilling their duties, which are of national importance in providing reliable and affordable electricity to South Africa.
“The board is committed to transparency and will provide updates at critical stages of the investigation.”