Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer has been cleared of all wrongdoing regarding a payment dispute between Eskom and contractor Aveng Ltd.
This follows after the South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of Aveng regarding a payment dispute with Eskom, ordering the power utility to pay more than R40 million plus interest until the debt is settled.
Eskom said it would comply with this order and also noted that the High Court ruling vindicated the COO’s stance on his involvement in the Aveng contract.
“Following the court’s findings against Eskom on a payment dispute with contractor Aveng, Eskom approached Advocate Nazir Cassim seeking his counsel on the way forward in his investigation into an employee’s grievance against Eskom’s chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer,” Eskom said in a statement.
“This court judgement, delivered in the South Gauteng division of the High Court on 11 September 2020, was the only outstanding matter related to the aforementioned grievance.”
Eskom said that the employee concerned also made public allegations at his appearance at the Zondo Commission, and it now wishes to set the record straight.
Corruption allegations against Oberholzer are unfounded
“In his investigation report into the grievance against the CEOO, Adv. Cassim had directed Eskom to conduct a disciplinary action against the COO on the allegation that he had favoured the interests of Aveng (the applicant in the court case) above those of Eskom by pressuring the employee to settle a R40-million invoice due to the contractor,” Eskom said.
In a subsequent opinion, Cassim has now cleared Oberholzer of all wrongdoing on this matter, which closes the grievance procedure against the COO.
“The Eskom board strongly condemns persistent, unfounded, and scurrilous allegations against Mr Oberholzer, which have not only served to distract management’s attention way from the very critical job of correcting the poor performance of Eskom’s generation plant but have also unnecessarily brought disrepute to Eskom and dragged the name of a key and dedicated employee into non-existing corruption scandals.”
“The board wishes to affirm its full confidence in Mr Oberholzer’s integrity and will continue to lend him all the necessary support to enable him to fully perform his job at Eskom,” Eskom said.
Eskom noted that there were a total of five payment disputes between itself and Aveng over a contract for the design, refurbishment, and optimisation of the rail yard and coal offloading facility at the Majuba power station.
Three of these disputes were settled, and the two remaining disputes were taken to court.