Eskom director Mark Lamberti, Lamberti, CEO of Imperial Holdings and previously with Massmart, has issued a bitter resignation letter after a recent court ruling forced him to quit the power utility's board.
A high court judgment recently found Lamberti owes a former Imperial employee damages – after he called her an "equity employment employee". Lamberti was found joint liable with Imperial to pay damages to, and the legal costs of, Adila Chowan, who was once considered a likely future chief financial officer in the Imperial group.
The court found that Lamberti and Imperial were liable for the impairment of Chowan's dignity.
Lamberti apologised to her, and his company said that no findings of racism or sexism had been made against him.
“Despite this, there has been a mainstream and social media frenzy of generally inaccurate commentary," Lamberti wrote in his resignation letter. "This is being fuelled by a political agenda and legally incorrect interpretations of the judgment, which have culminated inter alia in the most vitriolic defamation of my person.
"It is an understatement to say that this matter has been devastating to me and my family. A lifetime of clear conscience and a distinguished record of business leadership appear to have been in vain."
Lamberti was one of the "heavyweights" appointed to the Eskom board in January after Eskom managers apparently pleaded with then still deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene. The board quickly stepped in to deal with Eskom's troubled management.
Pravin Gordhan, minister of public enterprises, said in a statement that Lamberti must be commended "for taking the difficult decision to put the interests of Eskom, the board and the country above all else".
He added that Lamberti will return the fees paid to him as most of the Eskom board’s work to date has been "preparatory".