Qoma says he was shocked by Koko's rise at Eskom

14 November 2017 - 12:53 By Linda Ensor
Matshela Koko was appointed acting CEO of the power utility.
Matshela Koko was appointed acting CEO of the power utility.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Financial Mail

Eskom reputational manager Khulani Qoma said he was shocked when Matshela Koko was appointed acting CEO of the power utility given the controversy surrounding Koko.

Qoma‚ who is also a spokesman for the Eskom board‚ said he was shocked when the Eskom board‚ with the endorsement of Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown‚ appointed Koko as interim group CEO at a time when Eskom's reputation had taken a knock.

Qoma told the inquiry into state capture by Parliament's public enterprises committee that Koko was compromised and had been flagged in the media. He believed it was totally out of place for Brown to have approved Koko's appointment.

Qoma said he had questioned his own role as reputation manager when the board recommended and the minister endorsed a person with a questionable record.

Qoma was asked about an interview on current affairs programme Carte Blanche in which Koko denied any knowledge of a payment for coal made by Eskom to Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources. This was despite Koko and head of procurement Edwin Mabelane having submitted a request for the payment to the board tender committee a few months before the television interview took place.

Qoma was also questioned about the blacklisting of publisher Chris Yelland from all Eskom media releases‚ Twitter feeds and other platforms. The blacklisting had been instituted by former CEO Brian Molefe and supported by Koko‚ who is currently under suspension. It was only at the intervention of Qoma‚ with Eskom chairman Ben Ngubane‚ that the blacklisting was lifted.

Qoma said the return of Molefe to Eskom after his initial departure was totally devastating for Eskom's reputation.