Eskom fires Koko inquiry case presenter
Footage shows case presenter Sebetja Matsaung engaged in a heated exchange with Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha
The case presenter in the disciplinary hearing of suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko has been fired by the power utility after an altercation with a journalist.
Sebetja Matsaung engaged in a heated exchange with Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha on Friday evening after the hearing adjourned.
Eskom issued a statement on Saturday after a video of the altercation emerged. The footage shows Matsaung being physically restrained from attacking Mantshantsha while shouting derogatory terms and expletives at the journalist.
"Eskom condemns Matsaung’s behaviour in the strongest terms possible. We wish to convey our unreserved apologies that this unfortunate incident occurred‚" the statement read.
Meanwhile the hearing‚ which was due to continue on Monday‚ has been postponed until a new evidence leader can be appointed.
"We anticipate this will take up to three days to finalise‚" the statement concluded.
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.
You see me sweet and smiling and you think I am a n**i? I will take it out now, boss, the African way. Come and smile like a little f*ggot.
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 n**i? 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.