Eskom’s board has announced it will be looking into accusations of racism levelled against its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andre de Ruyter. This comes after the utility’s suspended official Solly Tshitangano accused de Ruyter of purging black firms.
Initially, Eskom’s board had thrown its weight behind de Ruyter, in the wake of the allegations and was confident in its disciplinary processes, but has now opted to dig into Tshitangano’s claims.
“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 Eskom board said in a statement.
Andre de Ruyter racism allegations – how will the investigation work?
An independent party will be conducting the investigation, which once concluded, will come with a set of recommendations for the Eskom board.
“The Board will appoint an independent Senior Counsel to conduct the investigation. 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,” the board said.
The board further added that it firmly stands against racism and sexism, and that it advocates for transformation and employment equity. It has also instructed the Eskom management to promote a high-performance culture to enable the turnaround of the utility.
“In the event anyone has any reason to feel aggrieved because of racist or sexist behaviour, this must be raised by using the well-established internal grievance processes, which will ensure that such allegations are properly investigated, and if found to be warranted, will result in disciplinary action in accordance with labour law, against the perpetrator of such unacceptable behaviour,” it said.
“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”
This all comes a week after Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) received a letter from Solly Tshitangano, in which he accused Andre de Ruyter of being racist. Tshitangano was suspended from Eskom pending a disciplinary hearing into his failure to meet performance targets.