Eskom’s Matshela Koko submits letter of resignation

Controversial top Eskom executive Matshela Koko submitted his resignation on Friday, but did not admit to any guilt.

This emerged during his second disciplinary hearing, which was held in Sandton on Friday morning.

The hearing was informed that Koko sent his resignation letter via email to the group chief executive of Eskom on Friday morning.

In the letter, which was read out at the hearing, Koko stated that he was resigning from the power utility without admitting to guilt.

While Koko’s legal team has argued that the letter should bring the hearing to a close, Eskom originally wanted it to continue.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed Koko’s resignation.

“Yes [he has resigned], but Eskom still prefers that the disciplinary hearing should go ahead today as planned because we believe that it has a strong case against Mr Koko,” he told Fin24 on Friday at about 11:00.

Later, however, the hearing ended. Advocate Nazeer Cassim, the hearing’s chair, said that after Koko stepped down there was no reason to continue with the inquiry.

Cassim said the goal of the hearing was to determine if there was merit to the charges against Koko and, if there were, whether he should be fired or not. But by stepping down his “employment relationship has come to an end”.

‘Good defences’

In his letter of resignation, Koko wrote that he was resigning from Eskom and as a director at Eskom Rotek Industries.

“I do so without any admission of wrongdoing,” he wrote, adding that he has “good defences to these charges that have been conveyed to Eskom’s legal representatives.”

He did not say what his defence was.

He said he considered his resignation “to be in my and my family’s best interests at this time”.

Before Friday’s hearing, Koko was adamant that he would not resign, saying he still had a crucial role to play at Eskom and that the state utility’s lenders had been unfair in demanding his dismissal.

In January Koko had returned to his job as Eskom group executive for generation, after being acquitted in an earlier disciplinary hearing related to nepotism involving his stepdaughter.

But he was again suspended in January after he refused to resign, as Eskom group CEO Phakamani Hadebe had requested him to do.

Getting rid of Koko was one of the demands lenders issued to the cash-strapped facility in order to access critical financing.

Koko, in turn, demanded that Eskom tell him which lenders wanted him out. ‘My blood is Eskom blue,” he told members of the portfolio committee of public enterprises, when he testified before them in late January during Parliament’s inquiry into the mismanagement of state funds at the state power utility.

Hadebe in his papers denied that an ‘ultimatum’ had been issued to Koko, who alleged in his affidavit that Hadebe had given him 24 hours to resign on January 25.

Koko subsequently obtained an urgent Labour Court order to safeguard his position until he has been through all the legal steps for a fair dismissal, including a disciplinary hearing.

At his latest disciplinary hearing the Eskom executive was facing four charges, including misleading Parliament about the McKinsey/Trillian payment, leaking confidential Eskom information to a Gupta associate and accepting flights to Dubai from a Gupta ally.

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