The Labour Court in Johannesburg issued an interim order on Friday, restraining Eskom from unlawfully terminating its head of generation Matshela Koko’s contract of employment.
The order was based on a breach of the terms of conditions of his employment and a directive issued to it by government in a statement put out on Sunday 21, January 2018 stating: “The board is directed to immediately remove all Eskom executives who are facing allegations of serious corruption and other acts of impropriety, including Mr. Matshela Koko . . .”
This follows after Koko applied for an interdict to prevent Eskom from firing him.
An ultimatum was put to him on Thursday to resign before 10:00 on Friday because he is seen as “the face of corruption” at Eskom, or be dismissed.
In an affidavit in support of his application, Koko says “institutions of state have embarked on a frenzied campaign against all and sundry that can … be said to have been associated with alleged ‘state capture’ by the now notorious Gupta family (with whom I have no ties whatsoever)”.
“That has given rise to a trampling on the rights of citizens as is evident also from the government statement of Sunday, January 21 2018. It is also exemplified by the proceedings of the Portfolio Committee in Parliament insofar as persons who are believed to have been involved as participants or facilitated ‘state capture’ are treated in the most despicable manner, being defamed and insulted, and subjected to questioning, taking turns, until the late hours of the night.”
Koko states in his affidavit that South Africa’s four banks, who are funders to Eskom, government and the minister of finance Malusi Gigaba are putting pressure on Eskom to terminate his employment. This he labels extortion.
He says unless Eskom resists this, it is complicit.
He points out that he has been found not guilty in an Eskom disciplinary process and is not facing any other charges.
He describes how Eskom’s designated interim CEO Phakamani Hadebe put the ultimatum to him on the afternoon of January 25, giving him less than 24 hours to resign or be dismissed.
He refers to three other managers at Eskom who were given similar ultimatums and were subsequently fired on January 24.
Koko questions Hadebe’s authority to act on behalf of Eskom and says he has “nowhere to turn except to the court to protect myself”.
The return date to court has been set for February 6.