Institute of Electrical Engineers Continues to Shame Professionals

ActionSA was shocked to learn, through a Daily Maverick article, that Sicelo Xulu remains the CEO of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).

Xulu, the former MD of City Power, departed from the City of Johannesburg with serious questions asked of his leadership in relation to the Edison Power Group’s R1.2 billion award of the smart meter contract.

Investigations revealed that the procurement process had been manipulated to favour EPG, and serious flaws in the delivery of the Smart Meters had City Power forking out more and more resources to make up for these problems.

It was similarly under Xulu’s tenure that the Eldorado Park and Hopefield sub-station projects saw R88 million in payments made to a service provider, who did not deliver the work and had filed a fake bank guarantee to the City. The directors of this company have subsequently been arrested.

When it was announced that Xulu had been appointed the CEO of SAIEE, I met with the office bearers of the institution. Their reaction to the information I revealed to them was deeply disappointing in that they confirmed their knowledge of the allegations of wrong doing. I expressed my concern that a professional body would not seek clarity from Xulu’s previous employers about his departure from the City, which they had treated merely as rumours.

After Xulu left City Power, he allegedly bought and renovated what is now estimated to be a R60 million luxury hotel in eShowe in the north of KZN which is frequented by heavyweights within the ANC. The opening itself was attended by former President Jacob Zuma amongst other high-profile dignitaries.

The Daily Maverick has confirmed that Zuma’s security entourage was accommodated at the hotel throughout the lockdown, funded by the state.

When the City’s Group Forensics Unit went to investigate the apparent lavish expenditure beyond the means of a former City employee, they were pursued by men armed with military issued automatic rifles.  

It appears, that the SAIEE has retained Xulu as the CEO of the organisation, in spite of what was revealed to them nor by an alleged investigation underway by the HAWKS.

With over 6000 professional members, the SAIEE is the officially recognised body for electrical engineers in South Africa. It’s role in providing leadership to the electrical engineering discipline among whose objectives is the promotion of the good professional standing of its members; and yet the SAIEE continues with Xulu as its CEO.

Professional bodies in South Africa play a critical role in our economy and society. When they are effective, they provide leadership, promote ethical behaviour, and advance the interests of the industry.

The apparent disregard demonstrated by the SAIEE, for serious questions relating Xulu brings into question not just the organisation by the professional of electrical engineering.

ActionSA calls upon members of the electrical engineering fraternity to raise questions to the SAIEE about the organisation’s recruitment processes and capacity to fulfil its mandate and promote ethical leadership within the profession.