The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) has dismissed allegations of interference in the appointment of the chairperson of the Eskom pension and provident fund.
A report by the Sunday Independent claimed that Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, revoked the appointment of the first black woman to be the chairperson of the Eskom pension and provident fund, and instead appointed Caroline Henry to the position.
The department said the report is manufactured by "an arrogant and destructive cabal employed to tarnish the reputation of all those fighting against corruption and to defend malfeasance".
The choice and appointment of the pension fund chairperson is entirely the responsibility of Eskom.
"The allegations seek to tarnish the name of the Minister and sustain a narrative that has been propagated over several months by specific individuals that are entangled in SOE (State Owned Enterprises) corruption and state capture.
"The Sunday Independent ignored all the facts provided to its journalists by Eskom on the recruitment process, including the fact that the company ran the process with the help of an external recruitment firm. The process culminated in a final shortlist, from which Henry became the preferred candidate," the department said in a statement.
According to Eskom, Mantuka Maisela had not made the shortlist.
The department disputed the report that the Ministry intervened in the appointment of Maisela to the position.
In fact, and in line with the process, the department said, it received a letter from the Eskom Board nominating Henry as the sole candidate, adding that this is a consideration for appointment by the Minister.
"Minister Gordhan approved the appointment of Henry based on the information before him and at no stage of the process did the DPE or the Minister contribute, suggest, or veto any names.
"The paper downplayed Eskom's responses to its questions regarding the situation regarding Maisela's candidature and instead chose to caricature Minister Gordhan in line with its deliberate distortion campaign," the department said.
Before publishing, the department noted that the newspaper was informed by Eskom that Maisela had served on the Fund's board for a continuous period of 16 years, a service that far exceeds the recommended period in terms of acceptable governance and protocols.
The department called on all to provide the space to the Pension Fund Board to perform their work without being concocted narratives of political interference.
"We are committed to a genuine transformation agenda that seeks to reverse the wrongs of apartheid and the recent state capture atrocities. Competent and ethical leaders have been appointed to the Eskom Board and leadership layer under Minister Gordhan," the department said.
According to the department, the Eskom executive leadership team is broken up to 70% African, 15% Coloured and 15% White.
"Transnet has a score of 81% African representativity in its executive management, almost half of those being African women. Distortions and other nefarious agendas simply fortify our resolve to improve the performance of these entities and simultaneously implement the Constitution's values of a non-racial, non-sexist South Africa."