Andre de Ruyter

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is investigating an allegation of racism levelled against its Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter.

The state-owned South African electricity producer will appoint an independent senior counsel to establish the veracity and the basis to the allegation made by suspended Chief Procurement Officer Solly Tshitangano, the utilitys board said in a statement Tuesday.

Since taking over the role in January 2020, De Ruyter has shaken up Eskom by taking decisions that some members of the board have disagreed with.

When the utility announced in July it would

cancel a contract for fuel oil with Econ Oil & Energy Ltd., an Eskom director disagreed with the findings of a probe into the matter and resigned. De Ruyter has also

shuffled senior managers over performance issues.

READ: Eskom to Cancel 14 Billion-Rand Contract After Probe

The National Union of Mineworkers, Eskoms biggest labor group, said last week it was highly disturbed by allegations of racism against De Ruyter for purging Black suppliers from the utility and cited Tshitangano as saying that white-owned companies have been preferred.

Eskoms board said the counsel its appointed will be able to interview any person that may be of assistance in the probe, consider any evidence and then make recommendations.

Eskom, considered the biggest liability to South Africas economy, has been attempting to address problems spanning its 464 billion rand ($30 billion) debt pile to operational issues that result in nationwide power cuts. In his time as CEO, De Ruyter has made some progress on tariffs and an outline for splitting the company into three units, while

suspected graft is being investigated.

De Ruyter doesnt have any additional comment beyond the statement, Eskoms spokesman said by text message.

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