/ 2 May 2010

Maroga’s termination ‘unlawful’

Maroga's Termination 'unlawful'

The termination of former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga’s employment contract was found to be unlawful by the high court in Johannesburg, the Sunday Independent reported.

The Eskom board fired Maroga in November 2009 after he denied that he had offered to resign from the public utility.

“This, in my view, is unlawful termination of Mr Maroga’s employment contract,” said Judge Moroa Tsoka in his judgement.

Tsoka found that Maroga had not been allowed to respond to allegations of poor performance, a right that was contained in his contract.

“In fact, the evidence on record reveals that the two acts of poor performance, namely failure to produce a funding model to save Eskom money and to renegotiate Eskom’s long-term contracts, cannot be true as, at the end of December 2009, Eskom [had] saved R10-billion due to Mr Maroga’s actions,” read the judgement.

‘Costly exercise’
“With regards to Mr Maroga’s alleged failure to renegotiate the long-term contracts, there was no certainty that this would be acceptable to other parties. In any event, it is common cause that this would be a costly exercise.”

Despite the finding that his termination was illegal, Tsoka ruled against Maroga’s bid to be reinstated as Eskom CEO and to prevent the board from appointing a successor.

He reasoned that the relationship between Maroga and the board had irretrievably broken down.

Tsoka was quoted as saying that it was in the public interest as well as good corporate governance that there was certainty over the leadership of Eskom, the newspaper reported.

Maroga left Eskom in October under a storm of controversy after he offered his resignation to the board, only to later withdraw it.

Eskom has filed court papers accusing former CEO Jacob Maroga of having “failed to perform his duties” and being “dishonest”, Business Day reported in February.

“The board had given him ample warning and time to perform. He simply failed to perform his duties,” Eskom acting chairperson Mpho Makwana said in the court papers, reported by Business Day. – Sapa