Stung by criticism, Eskom on Wednesday issued a statement declaring that it's disciplinary hearing of its suspended group executive, Matshela Koko, was being conducted in "a fair, professional, and transparent manner".
The power utility said it "has noted with great concern" some media reports that had suggested that the disciplinary hearing has collapsed and that the entire process "was a farce" with a predetermined outcome.
Eskom interim chairperson Zethembe Khoza said: “Eskom wishes to unequivocally state that this disciplinary hearing is being conducted in a fair, professional, and transparent manner, with the media being granted permission to attend in a matter that would ordinarily be treated as an internal matter”.
Khoza added: “It is worth noting that the chairperson of the hearing, together with the evidence leaders from both parties, are competent and independent professionals who belong to highly regulated organisations that would take a dim view of any misconduct by anyone of their members”.
He said it was regrettable that the events of 20 October 2017, where Eskom’s previous evidence leader was involved in an altercation with a journalist, have overshadowed the integrity of the disciplinary hearing.
"Eskom took immediate action and replaced the former evidence leader in order to protect the sanctity of the hearing and to maintain the independence and freedom of expression of the media as enshrined in the Constitution of our country," said Khoza.
He said Eskom "notes with concern" the allegations that have been made regarding the witnesses who have declined to testify in the proceedings. Some witnesses have chosen to decline the request based on legal advice they received from their lawyers.
“Eskom accordingly has had no option but to continue with the hearing in the absence of these witnesses and to close its case on 25 November 2017. Accordingly, Mr Koko will be testifying in his defense on 30 November 2017 at 09h00,” said Khoza.