Eskom is to commission an independent inquiry into the running of its business, Eskom Chairman Zola Tsotsi said.

“The Eskom board has today resolved to commission an independent inquiry on the current state of the business and its challenges. We have deemed it prudent to seek an independent view of the status of, among other things, the poor performance on generation plants,” said Tsotsi.

The inquiry, Tsotsi said, will seek an independent view of poor performance on generation plants and high costs of primary energy, among others.

The chairman further added the decision was brought about by a board meeting held on Wednesday.

In addition to the inquiry, four executives, including Eskom Chief Executive Officer Tsediso Matona, have been asked to step aside for the duration of the three month inquiry. The other three executives that have been asked to step aside are Financial Director Tsholofelo Molefe and Group Executives Dan Morokane and Matshela Koko.

“The board would like the (exercise) to last no more than three months,” said Tsotsi, adding that it is critical to improve the situation at the power utility and for the inquiry to come out with solutions.

Tsotsi added that there was no malice behind the inquiry, saying an interim CEO and other executives will be put in place over the course of the duration of the inquiry, which will be carried out by an independent body.

“There are no charges against them,” said the chairman, refering to the four executives asked to step aside.

He added that the inquiry was a fact finding mission, and if improper conduct was uncovered “obviously we will have to attend to it”.

On a question of whether the shareholder [the Department of Public Enterprises] has been informed of the inquiry, Tsotsi said the blessing of the shareholder has been sought.

“So we have their support,” he said, adding that the inquiry did not mean that the board has lost confidence in Matona.

The four executives had been asked to step aside so as to allow the inquiry to carry on unhindered. Meanwhile, the power system is expected to remain tight going into the weekend, said the entity.