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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


WATCH: Eskom a ‘feeding trough’ for ANC – De Ruyter

Following the explosive interview, Eskom announced that De Ruyter will be leaving the struggling state-owned entity with immediate effect.


Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has attacked former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, rebuking him for “meddling” in politics instead of focusing on ending load shedding.

Gordhan launched the tirade during a gathering of parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises on Wednesday.

Gordhan attacks

The Public Enterprises Minister was referring to the controversial interview on eNCA with journalist Annika Larsen on Tuesday evening (21 February).

While De Ruyter admitted he failed to solve the load shedding crisis, he lashed out at corruption within government and governance around Eskom.

But, Gordhan did not take to kindly to the explosive allegations made by the CEO.

“CEOs of entities such as Eskom should not be involved in open political debates or assertions, and if they have political views, that is their private business and they are welcome to express those views privately,” Gordhan said.

eNCA interview

When asked by Larsen whether he believes those in the ANC see Eskom as a “feeding trough”, De Ruyter said that evidence would indicate this is the case.

“I would say the evidence suggests that it is. I expressed my concerns to a senior government minister about attempts in my view to water down governance around the $8.5 billion that by large through Eskom’s intervention we got at Cop26.”

“And the response was essentially you have to be pragmatic. In order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit. So, yes, it is I think entrenched,” De Ruyter said.

ALSO READ: André de Ruyter: ‘The wrong person resigned’, says Solidarity

Corruption

De Ruyter said Eskom approached a high-level minister about their concerns.

“When we pointed out that there was one particular high-level politician that was involved in this, the minister in question looked at the senior official and said, ‘I guess it was inevitable that this would come out anyway’. Which suggests that this wasn’t news (to them),” he said.

De Ruyter did not disclose which minister he approached or whether they were in cabinet, but confirmed that he or she was still in government.

“Let’s not go there, because of the risk,” he said.

De Ruyter leaves Eskom immediately

Following the explosive interview with Larsen and Gordhan’s attack, Eskom announced late on Wednesday night that De Ruyter will be leaving the struggling state-owned entity with immediate effect.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said De Ruyter and Eskom reached a mutual agreement to curtail his notice period to 28 February 2023 during a special board meeting.

“The board further resolved that De Ruyter will not be required to serve the balance of his notice period but that he will be released from his position with immediate effect.”

It’s unclear if the decision was taken in response to De Ruyter’s interview.

ANC response?

The Citizen contacted the African National Congress (ANC) national spokesperson Mahlengi Bengu and Langa Zita, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary General, for comment, but there was no response at the time of publication.

ALSO READ: André de Ruyter leaves Eskom with immediate effect