Remove corruption-tainted SAIEE CEO immediately – John Moodey

DA says under Sicelo Xulu's leadership, City Power's governance and management systems were eroded

DA calls for the immediate removal of the corruption-tainted CEO of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers

25 February 2019

The Democratic Alliance has learnt with dismay of the appointment of Mr Sicelo Xulu as the CEO of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).

Xulu is tainted by serious corruption and mismanagement allegations from his time as the Managing Director of City Power, the City of Johannesburg’s power utility.

Under his leadership, City Power’s governance and management systems were eroded by corruption. This in turn stifled the City Power’s ability to deliver quality services to the residents of Johannesburg.

I will be writing to the president of the SAIEE, Dr Hendri Geldenhuys calling for the immediate removal of Mr Xulu from his position.

In addition, the DA calls for the SAIEE to conduct an investigation into the circumstances around Mr Xulu’s appointment into this important role.

In July 2017, Xulu was removed from his position at City Power following the conclusion of a damning forensic report into widespread corruption and mismanagement, costing the public billions of Rand. This emanated from a multi-billion Rand smart meter tender which was awarded to Vivian Reddy’s Edison Power Group.

It was no secret that Vivian Reddy was a close ally and friend to Jacob Zuma. In another twist, the DA has learnt that Mr Xulu is also the nephew of Jacob Zuma.

The weak corporate governance and corruption that festered at City Power under the leadership of Sicelo Xulu is also highlighted by the gross mismanagement of the Eldorado Park and Hopefield substation contracts where millions of Rand were paid to a dodgy contractor.

Two directors of the company were arrested in 2017 for colluding with City Power officials and receiving payments exceeding R88 million for work that was never completed in the building of the Eldorado Park sub-station and refurbishment of the Hopefield sub-station. They had secured the contract through a fraudulent bank guarantee which led the City to believe that they had the balance sheet to handle the project.

The SAIEE’s mission is to provide ethical leadership to the electrical engineering discipline and one of its objectives is, “to promote and uphold the professional standing of members of the Institute and to provide career guidance for younger members.”

To think that Sicelo Xulu is now seen fit to lead the SAIEE is an indictment on this important institution. This is only made worse given the enormous challenges our country is facing when it comes to an uninterrupted power supply and ending the deep-rooted corruption at Eskom.

South Africa is in desperate need of professional and ethical electrical engineers to help us ensure that the lights remain on. This in turn will help to stimulate economic growth and the creation of jobs for our people.

The DA also calls on the President of SAIEE, Dr Hendri Geldenhuys, to explain his comments at the time of Mr Xulu’s appointment where he is quoted in the media as stating that the SAIEE was aware of the allegations against Xulu and conducted serious investigations, however “no evidence was found that indicated in any way that he has acted dishonestly in his previous job.”

I have spoken to the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, who has confirmed that the SAIEE made no effort to contact the City to verify or request information on the forensic report which made damning findings against Mr Xulu.

On top of this the City of Johannesburg opened a criminal case against Mr Xulu following the conclusion of the forensic investigation. This criminal case is currently under investigation by the Hawks.

THE SAIEE and its President have a lot of questions to answer. Starting with explaining what steps the SAIEE took to investigate and clear the serious allegations against Mr Xulu.

Just this morning, Mr Xulu appeared on ENCA’s, “The Fix”, being interviewed by Karima Brown and Peter Bruce, unpacking some of the challenges facing Eskom. The fact that this individual is provided with such a platform by the SAIEE is a disgrace and calls into question their commitment to providing ethical leadership in this important sector.

For every day that Mr Xulu continues in this role, the SAIEE is suffering irreparable harm. Not only is the Institute failing its membership, but the entire country as we desperately look for integrity in this sector and solutions to the myriad of challenges facing Eskom.

Issued by John Moodey, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, 25 February 2019