State capture: Eskom board member removed because he 'questioned certain transactions'
Former Eskom board member Norman Baloyi told the state capture commission on Wednesday that his removal was linked to him questioning certain transactions.
“I did question certain transactions. It was the IT tender which I was expecting to be concluded at a certain period because my background is mainly IT. It started at R2bn, then it went to R4bn after its expiry,” Baloyi said.
Baloyi was appointed as Eskom board member by then-public enterprises minister Lynne Brown in November 2014.
Baloyi said he asked questions about the IT tender that was extended.
“I happened to call the new chairperson [of the tender committee] to inquire if that particular transaction had been concluded. I also did ask Mr [Matshela] Koko because IT was reporting to him, I guess, about these issues of the extension of the tender that was continuing.”
Baloyi said he was not given positive feedback regarding the tender, and Koko told him the IT tender had been concluded.
“I said I thought it would come to the board [for approval]. He said no, it’s within the mandate of the committee to approve it,” Baloyi said.
Baloyi said he warned the board against it being blamed for approving things that were meant to be approved by the executive.
According to Baloyi, Koko then wrote a letter to the chair of the board and to Brown, accusing Baloyi of working against the board. This, he said, led to him being sidelined and decisions being taken without his involvement.
He was ultimately removed from the board.
Baloyi also revealed to the commission that the suspension of several Eskom executives was done as an emergency and without following due process.
“There was no formal process. There were conflicting feelings on who should act. We did not have the CVs of the candidates that should be acting,” he said.
Letters of suspension of the executives, Baloyi said, were drafted by former Eskom consultant Nicholas Linell. “Most of the content [of the letters] was the same,” Baloyi said.
He said the board had agreed that there would be no allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing levelled against the executives.
Baloyi said he had opposed the suspension of the executives.
“I raised the issue of removing the executives. I remained opposed to their suspension. The emergency [to suspend the executives] was created out of nowhere. There was no time to reflect on whether we had done the right thing. The board agreed the suspensions were unnecessary.”
Baloyi said he believed that it was Koko’s idea and plan to suspend the executives.
The commission will on Thursday hear evidence of former Eskom board member Venete Klein.