The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Friday that it welcomes the reinstatement of Matshela Koko as group executive of power generation at Eskom, but called for a full investigation into allegations of corruption at the power utility.

Eskom confirmed on Wednesday that Koko would be reinstated into his former role as group executive of power generation from Monday after he was cleared of any wrongdoing in disciplinary hearing. 

Koko faced six charges, including of failing to declare a conflict of interest after a company in which his stepdaughter had shares was awarded a R1 billion tender by a division he led.

His reinstatement has been criticised by opposition parties and business lobby groups who say it flies in the face of government’s claims to be combating corruption.

NUM general secretary David Sipunzi, said in a statement that while the union welcomed Koko’s reinstatement, Eskom had serious corporate governance issues it needed to resolve.

“Whilst the NUM welcomes reinstatement of Koko back to his position as generation divisional executive, there are serious allegations of corrupt activities levelled against Eskom and we believe that government and the Eskom board should get to the bottom of these allegations and root out corruption completely in this company,” Sipunzi said. 

“It is a grave concern that all these alleged corrupt activities and exchange of money which also involves people outside Eskom happened whilst both the Eskom board and exco were watching, and it is quite difficult to believe that they were completely unaware about the rot that was creeping into the organisation.”

Sipunzi said the NUM believed the only way of tackling corruption within Eskom, would be to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture in government departments and state-owned entities.

“NUM further believes that Eskom needs to review this cumbersome conflict of interest policy, particularly with regard to the declaration of interest as many of our members at lower levels of the company fell victims [to it] and were ultimately dismissed by Eskom.”

Sipunzi went on to question the competency of the current Eskom board and said workers take the fall for the company’s problems when it came to this year’s wage negotiations, saying: “Eskom will be pleading poverty whilst it is known where the money is to be recovered.”

 – African News Agency (ANA)