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    Scopa gives Eskom deadline to finalise Andre de Ruyter racism probe

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    Parliament’s watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is taking a tough approach towards Eskom, particularly as it investigates allegations of racism levelled against the utility’s CEO Andre de Ruyter.

    Scopa has given the utility a total of 90 days to conclude the probe and with the clock ticking, there are about two months left before the deadline lapses. In light of the Eskom investigation, Scopa has opted to pump the brakes on its own probe.

    “What we were avoiding was duplication which would have amounted to wasteful expenditure, waste of taxpayers’ money. And we believe that because Eskom is not necessarily investigating itself here, but has appointed a special counsel in the name of advocate Ishmael Semenya, we are quite confident that that is sufficient at this point in time,” Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika.

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    The racism allegations were made by Eskom’s suspended chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano, who accused de Ruyter of disregarding company guidelines and purging black suppliers in favour of their white counterparts.

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    Did Eskom drag its feet in launching Andre de Ruyter investigation?

    Scopa also said it took a dim view of the fact that Eskom took a while before actually launching the investigation into Andre de Ruyter. Hlengwa said the board’s chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, would be summoned to Parliament to explain why.

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    “They are on a short leash. But also, we had begun doing our own work as a committee and we are in receipt and in possession of information which we are going to use when we assess how this process has gone,” Hlengwa said.

    He added that the pressure they have placed on Eskom, forces the troubled entity to confront its difficult issues and prove its credibility.

    “This is a litmus test for Eskom. They are in the dock as well. Eskom is in fact on trial here, so that they can actually step up to the plate and do the things that they want to do. We do encourage government departments and entities to actually understand that this is their responsibility”

    Scopa Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa

    De Ruyter was appointed to head the struggling power utility in January 2020, after Phakamani Hadebe resigned in 2019.

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