Thursday, 18 March 2021: After continuously serving on the board of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF), in various capacities since June 2004 – including two full terms as an independent trustee, chairman of various committees and one full term as Chairman of the board – Mantuka Maisela was replaced as Chairman with effect from 1 July 2020 following a recruitment process. In May 2020 Ms. Maisela was appointed for a further four-year term ending in May 2024.
As the rules of the EPPF do not provide for interim board appointments, the full board term of four years was specified in the letter of appointment. This was deemed to be an interim appointment that was to endure until such time as a permanent Chairman was appointed.
Ms. Maisela has been aggrieved by her removal only a few months into the new term as this may have created an impression of some impropriety on her part in the market. She further expressed that she feels deeply aggrieved by the manner in which Eskom and the EPPF handled the situation.
Ms. Maisela is of the view that as a result of her not being re-appointed to the EPPF or alternatively, as a result of her removal after her purported re-appointment, the marketplace in which she would like to practice her trade as a career non-executive director, has or may infer a finding of financial or other impropriety on her part. According to her, the perception of wrongdoing on her part has endured beyond the retraction of the false information published about her and the EPPF last year by some parts of the media.
Pursuant to a meeting, the Group Chief Executive of Eskom, André de Ruyter, made a commitment that an independent tribunal would be appointed to investigate the circumstances that gave rise to her removal and to make recommendations to Eskom.
The independent tribunal was commissioned in September 2020, and following several interviews and the consideration of relevant documentation pertaining to the removal of Ms. Maisela and the appointment of the new chairman, the tribunal issued its final report on 8 October 2020.
The report of the independent tribunal concluded as follows: “It is our finding that the suspensive conditions applicable to the appointment (in February 2020) of Ms. Maisela as Chairman were never fulfilled and that her purported appointment was accordingly null and void ab initio. At this juncture it is important to note that even if it is determined Maisela’s appointment as Chairman of the Board was valid, Eskom was entitled to remove her, on reasonable grounds given, without notice in terms of paragraph 3.5(1) of the Rules, which it purported to do in its letters to the Fund and to Ms. Maisela dated 12 June 2020.”
Eskom acknowledges that the manner in which the appointment of the EPPF Chairman was dealt with is regrettable and could have been handled better. To this end, Eskom has agreed to provide Ms. Maisela with a letter of reference for the purposes of pursuing future employment opportunities, and to issue this media statement, based on the independent tribunal’s Report, that clears the air concerning the circumstances which led to her removal as the EPPF Chair.
Eskom wishes to unequivocally state that it has not at any stage accused Ms. Maisela of any corrupt activities, nor has she been implicated in any corruption or fraud investigation relating to her time at the EPPF. Eskom has also not at any stage accused Ms Maisela of incompetence or failure to perform in accordance with the requirements of her various positions.