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Eskom guilty of ‘unfair labour practice’ in suspending Daniels: CCMA

Eskom guilty of ‘unfair labour practice’ in suspending Daniels says CCMA.
Eskom guilty of ‘unfair labour practice’ in suspending Daniels says CCMA.

The Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found that Eskom suspending head of legal compliance Suzanne Daniels was an “unfair labour practice”.

“The respondent party Eskom is ordered to uplift the suspension with immediate effect and take the applicant back into its employ with effect from March 19 2018‚” CCMA commissioner Prince Kekana said in her award.

“The respondent is ordered to pay to the applicant‚ Suzanne Daniels‚ compensation equivalent to five months remuneration for the unfair suspension.”

The arbitration hearings took place on January 10-11 and February 13-14 at the CCMA’s offices in Johannesburg.

Daniels blew the whistle on state capture at Eskom while testifying in parliament last year. She compiled a report implicating senior Eskom managers in the Trillian/McKinsey saga. Eskom paid global consultancy McKinsey and Gupta-linked financial firm Trillian R1.6-billion. 

Daniels also issued letters of demand to McKinsey and Trillian in October to the value of R1.6-billion. She was suspended shortly after the letters of demand were sent to McKinsey and Trillian by then acting CEO Sean Maritz. Maritz has since been suspended and subsequently resigned.

Kekana found Maritz “failed” to show any consideration for Daniels’s 13-page representation on why she should not be suspended.

“Maritz’s notice of suspension was vague.”

Daniels testified in parliament last year that she met Ajay Gupta‚ Duduzane Zuma‚ former deputy public enterprises minister Ben Martins and an unidentified Chinese woman at a townhouse in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on July 29 last year.

Kekana said in the analysis of the arguments Eskom “presented no evidence to rebut the applicant’s (Suzanne Daniels) evidence”.

“The respondent also did not call any witnesses to clarify their documents or decisions. The respondent only presented in closing arguments‚” Kekana said.

“The respondent relied on arguments without any evidence foundation. My decision is based mainly on the applicant’s undisputed testimony.”

Kekana was “confused” why Eskom suspended Daniels for a second time five months after they first became aware of her alleged misconduct.

“The proverbial axe hanging over the applicant’s head is more punitive than an actual disciplinary hearing‚” Kekana said.

“I found that it was appropriate to award compensation in this matter. The delay was protracted and more punitive than being precautionary.”

Kekana also took into consideration the humiliation Daniels endured‚ her reputational damage and “impaired” dignity due to her suspension.

She is expected to be a key witness in the upcoming judicial commission of inquiry into state capture that will be headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

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