Avatar photo

By Sydney Majoko


Prove that De Ruyter is a liar instead of asking him for names publicly

Siphoning R1 billion a month is no child’s play. That should be the easiest thing to do.

Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe in December last year accused the André de Ruyter-led Eskom of “actively agitating for the overthrow of the state” by not dealing with the electricity crisis.

It is one thing for any member of government or even an ordinary citizen to accuse the CEO of an state-owned entity of committing a political act, but when a minister whose department is directly involved in the oversight of that power utility does it publicly, he is inviting the leadership of that enterprise into the political arena.

And this past week, De Ruyter entered that political arena with guns blazing. He repeated what everyone has been saying for years that the ANC, the ruling party, is responsible for South Africa’s crippling power crisis.

ALSO READ: De Ruyter’s controversial interview raises important questions, writes Busi Mavaso

But he knew that everyone knows that, so he put some meat on the bone by saying, on national television, that the culprits of the endemic corruption making it impossible to fix Eskom are in the country’s top leadership.

He explained how, when funding was secured at COP26, he was told he had to make it possible for “some people to eat”. In other words, top politicians asked the Eskom CEO to look the other way as money was siphoned out of Eskom.

His worst allegation by far is that up to R1 billion was being stolen from Eskom every single month. And the ruling party’s immediate response? The CEO of Eskom must not meddle in political affairs.

Fikile Mbalula, the general secretary of the ANC, called De Ruyter “opportunistic” and that he has a regressive political and ideological agenda. And yes, he advertises a “right-wing” ideology.

ALSO READ: DA lauds De Ruyter as a ‘national hero’ while EFF labels him ‘useless’

That is quite close to calling him a racist because in the South African political landscape right-wing politics are underpinned by racism.

All this name-calling, for what? For saying that he knows how Eskom and the South African economy are being crippled by the ruling party? It must be made clear that De Ruyter’s three years at Eskom did not achieve what he accepted the job for, which was to end the electricity blackouts.

So, maybe he does have an axe to grind and to protect his corporate reputation. But it would be foolish in the biggest way for him to go on national television to attack the ruling party with the most serious accusations to simply mask his failures, or explain them away.

The most telling part of the response by the ruling party to De Ruyter’s revelations was telling him to “give names and provide the evidence”.

ALSO READ: Fired Eskom chief executive De Ruyter ‘a victim of a mafia world’

This man has just said on national television that mafia-like syndicates are running the Eskom scams and the first response to those allegations are to shout at him to name the suspects? No wonder whistle-blowers do not come forward often enough, if an outgoing CEO can be publicly bullied like this for exposing graft, what of a middle-management employee without De Ruyter’s clout?

Instead of asking De Ruyter for names publicly, the president should immediately set out to check out the veracity of his claims.

Siphoning R1 billion a month is no child’s play. That should be the easiest thing to do.

Either prove that De Ruyter is a liar covering up for his failures as Eskom, or a genuinely concerned South African exposing what has got South Africa into the terrible position it is today.

If he is lying and it is proven, then they can throw the book at him. The thing is, if he is telling the truth, the best place to hide is in doing nothing about his allegations.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits