Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter (DEON RATH)
The board of state power utility Eskom announced on Tuesday that it will appoint an independent senior counsel to lead an investigation into allegations of racism levelled at its CEO Andre de Ruyter.
“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 [group chief executive] in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability,” the board said in a statement.
“The counsel will be empowered to interview any person that may be of assistance in the probe, and consider any evidence, and will then report back to the board and make recommendations.”
This comes after the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) announced last week that it planned to investigate allegations against De Ruyter by suspended chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano.
Tshitangano accused De Ruyter of flouting procurement guidelines, but also of racism in how he deals with himself, suppliers, like the black female-owned Econ Oil, and contractors.
In a separate matter last year, De Ruyter was cleared of allegations that he misled the board in a decision to cancel fuel contracts – Econ Oil was one of the suppliers. The investigation was led by Advocate Wim Trengove, who looked into claims made by two directors, Sifiso Dabengwa and Dr Pulane Molokwane.
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