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Koko appointed Eskom acting CEO despite ‘defects’‚ inquiry hears

Matshela Koko
Image: Freddy Mavunda.

The Eskom board appointed suspended acting CEO Matshela Koko to the position despite knowing the “defects” in his character regarding the manner in which he related to people.

After his appointment‚ Koko was warned by then-board member Venete Klein that he was “on watch”‚ and that if he defaulted on the human relations front‚ he would be removed.

Klein presented evidence on Tuesday to the inquiry into state capture being conducted by Parliament's public enterprises committee.

While Klein would not go so far as to describe Koko as being “close to a Hitler”‚ as evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara suggested‚ she did concede that Koko had a reputation for mishandling people and for his erratic behaviour.

Klein admitted that when the board recommended the appointment of Koko as acting Eskom CEO to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown‚ the minister was not told about his character flaws.

However‚ Klein denied that the minister had been misled‚ and explained the failure to inform her by saying that the board did not have many experienced candidates to choose from. She also claimed that the “mitigating” action had been taken of highlighting his shortcomings to Koko after his appointment.

Vanara also questioned Klein extensively about a board meeting in March this year‚ which was held to discuss the suspension of Koko‚ after allegations emerged that he had entered into procurement contracts with Impulse International‚ in which his stepdaughter was involved.

Vanara’s questioning related to the change in attitude between a midday board meeting that agreed in the majority that Koko should be suspended‚ and a later meeting at which he was given the opportunity to present his case in writing to then-Eskom chair Ben Ngubane.

Klein said she could not explain what had happened between the two meetings‚ and could not confirm the testimony given last week by Eskom reputation manager Khulani Qoma‚ who claimed that he had been told by acting Eskom chair Zethembe Khoza that a phone call to a Gupta brother after the first meeting‚ and then to Brown‚ led to the suspension of Koko being put on hold.

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