Cape Town – When Matshela Koko was appointed as acting CEO of Eskom, he introduced a system of different colour cards for “punishments and penalties”, former Eskom director Venete Klein told Parliament’s public enterprises committee on Tuesday.
She said she had made it clear to Koko from the start that she will be “watching” him closely, because of “the way he dealt with people”.
The committee spent a lot of time trying to find out why Koko was not suspended after a board meeting earlier this year. It even played a recording of that meeting in order to refresh Klein’s memory.
Klein said it was clear from the recording that she was in favour of Koko being suspended.
Fin24 reported earlier that Koko faces charges relating to nepotism and conflict of interest. He allegedly failed to declare “accurately and in a timely manner”, that his 26-year-old stepdaughter Koketso Choma’s company was doing business with Eskom Generation when Koko was head of the unit.
Choma’s company, Impulse International, allegedly received contracts worth more than R1bn from Eskom Generation.
“I was pushing hard for Mr Koko to be suspended at that meeting. I was not a fan of Mr Koko. I felt it must be an automatic suspension,” Klein told the committee. During the meeting she said she was under the impression that most of the other board members agreed with her.
However, at a meeting with Koko later that day, he was not suspended. Klein explained that was because some board members felt it was part of the process at Eskom to afford someone an opportunity to give reasons why they should not be suspended.
She said Koko offered to provide such reasons in writing to Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane and that the committee must, therefore, take it up with Ngubane if they wanted further details.
Advocate Nthuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader at the inquiry, put it to Klein that she misled Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown about Koko’s abilities.
Klein disagreed and said the board took Koko through the motions of exactly what it expected from him.
“I don’t think we misled the minister. I believe we had adequately mitigated what we saw as the problem, given the limited choices we had [of candidates]. But we could certainly have done better,” Klein concluded.
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