Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter gave advice for the future Energy and Police Ministers, should there be a change of government in 2024.
In an interview with BizNews, De Ruyter was asked, should there be a change in government after the 2024 elections, what advice he would give the new Energy Minister for their first 100 days in office.
De Ruyter said it would be crucial to give a clear policy signal that will encourage investors in new generation capacity, in the manufacturing of renewable energy components, contractors for the construction of new plants and grids, and investors in debt.
“We also need to reassure investors that South Africa will stay the course and that they can earn a decent return to reward their capital,” he said.
By doing this, De Ruyter said the country would see huge investments into South Africa, which would create jobs and ensure that the country’s exports don’t fall due to carbon border or export taxes.
De Ruyter was posed the same question regarding a potential new Police Minister. He said action is needed “to stop the crime wave against Eskom”.
This action must be intelligence-driven and look towards “the root of the problem and not only the runners on the ground”.
“It can be done, but structural problems on the ground in Mpumalanga need to be vigorously addressed if we are to make headway against the crooks,” he said.
In the interview, De Ruyter explained his continued anti-corruption efforts, despite the severe backlash, and said it is important to “stop pretending in public that everything is ok” while privately complaining and making contingency plans.
“If we care about the country as patriots – a deeply unfashionable word – it seems we as citizens need to act. If we don’t, we forego the right to complain,” he said.
During his tenure as Eskom CEO, De Ruyter made it his mission to clamp down on corruption at the utility – an effort that has been met with both praise and scorn.
While some applauded De Ruyter’s hard anti-corruption stance, others argued that it was not his job and that he focused on corruption instead of addressing the country’s electricity crisis.
In particular, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe accused De Ruyter of running Eskom like a “policeman” – fighting criminals rather than fixing the energy crisis.
Mantashe also accused De Ruyter of treason, saying that, in failing to reduce load-shedding, the CEO was “actively agitating for the overthrow of the state”.
Since departing from Eskom, De Ruyter has continued speaking openly about corruption at the power utility.
In an interview with eNCA in February, De Ruyter made allegations about widespread corruption at Eskom, which implicated government officials.
Following these allegations, De Ruyter left South Africa for fear of his safety.
This follows an alleged attempt on the former CEO’s life, as De Ruyter claimed to have been poisoned in January shortly after announcing his resignation.
Since leaving the country, more information about corruption at Eskom has come to light, thanks in part to De Ruyter’s newly published book, Truth to Power.
Many of De Ruyter’s corruption claims have been based on a private report he had commissioned during his time at Eskom.
This R50 million report – and, by association, De Ruyter – has come under scrutiny for being dubious and lacking evidence for the serious claims it makes.
However, De Ruyter has defended the report, saying it has achieved some success.
“The consequence of the investigation has been to catalyse arrests, the deployment of the army, the shutdown of 18 illegal coal sites, the deployment of specialised units of the police, and changes to police structures,” he said.