Threats, swearing and frayed tempers as Koko inquiry adjourns

Eskom lawyer in tense stand-off with Financial Mail journalist as day three of disciplinary inquiry comes to early end

20 October 2017 - 20:51 By Kyle Cowan
Matshela Koko. File photo.
Matshela Koko. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Financial Mail

An unexpected end to proceedings and an angry, expletive-laden outburst on Friday evening cut short day three of the disciplinary inquiry into allegations levelled against suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko.

Koko is facing six charges in relation to his alleged failure to properly declare a conflict of interest after it emerged his stepdaughter‚ Koketso Choma‚ was a director and shareholder of a company that netted close to R1-billion in contracts from Eskom during her tenure at the firm.

He allegedly used his influence as head of generation to channel the contracts to the company‚ Impulse International.

The hearing had been due to continue until 9.30pm on Friday, but was adjourned shortly after 6pm when both parties agreed to release Annemari Krugel, an investigator from chartered accounting firm Nkonki Inc who was brought on board by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the law firm hired by Eskom.

Eskom evidence leader Sebetja Matsaung then had no further witnesses to call.

On Thursday, Krugel had led more than three hours of evidence on her fact-finding processes, who she had spoken to, and how she and her team had arrived at their conclusions.

On Friday, she was called again – this time in relation to a probe she had conducted into a whistleblower report on other alleged misconduct by Koko. That report had been handed to former Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane.

An hour and a half or so into questioning by Matsaung, Adv Frans Barrie SC, representing Koko, objected and said the lawyer was asking Krugel about events of which she did not have direct knowledge.

At this point, Matsaung first asked for time to be instructed by Wawa Xaluva, Eskom's acting legal head, but on resumption requested an adjournment until Monday as he had no other witnesses to call.

Shortly thereafter, the situation became tense.

Journalists from Fin24, ANN7 and Engineering News approached Matsaung to speak to him about the events of the evening.

Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha joined the group and asked a question, which led to Matsaung losing his temper. He shouted that he was “not talking to” Mantshantsha and threatened to assault the journalist physically.

“You see me sweet and smiling and you think I am a naai? I will take it out now, boss, the African way. Come and smile like a little f*ggot,” the lawyer said.

“I will take it out now, I don’t need the law ... I will sort it out man to man,” he added.

He threw other derogatory comments Mantshantsha’s way and had to be restrained by Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

TimesLIVE could not clarify the initial comments that led to the outburst.

WARNING: The video below has foul language. Not for sensitive viewers: