Former Mpumalanga premier and ANC NEC member Mathews Phosa said there are direct links between Eskom corruption and some ANC ministers and premiers.
Phosa revealed this during an interview with Nuuspod’s Izak du Plessis about the state of South Africa and the ruling ANC.
Phosa is an ANC stalwart and was one of the first party members to enter South Africa from exile in 1990 to start negotiations with the National Party government.
He was appointed as the first premier of Mpumalanga, a position he held until 1999. He pioneered planning interaction between the private sector and the government.
Phosa told Nuuspod that former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter was correct that there are links between corruption at Eskom and high-profile government officials.
“There are direct links between the offices of some ministers and premiers to corruption at Eskom,” he said.
“If there is a proper investigation into corruption at Eskom, a few ministers and premiers will burn.”
He added that many honest members of the ruling party are fighting against corruption but that it is not an easy battle.
“Corruption has spread throughout South Africa, which is a big challenge for the ANC. However, it can be cleaned up if you set an example,” Phosa said.
“Corrupt government officials should be prosecuted and put in jail. People fear jail, and it will show corrupt officials the price of their actions.”
He said there is currently no risk associated with corruption as the government is “all talk and no action” regarding malfeasance.
Andre de Ruyter’s explosive revelations of corruption at Eskom
In the interview on eNCA, De Ruyter said the power utility is a feeding trough for the ANC involving high-profile politicians.
He alleged there is knowledge and support for corruption at the highest levels of the ruling party and the government.
In one instance, he approached a senior minister about a high-level politician involved in sinister and potentially criminal activities at Eskom.
“The minister in question looked at a senior official and said, ‘I guess it was inevitable that it would come out anyway’. It suggests that it was not news,” De Ruyter said.
In another instance, he expressed concerns to a minister about the government’s attempts to water down an $8.5 billion package to accelerate the country’s clean energy transition.
“The response was that you have to be pragmatic. To pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit. It is entrenched,” he said.
The former Eskom CEO made similar allegations in his book, Truth to Power, and his testimony before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
De Ruyter refused to name the ministers allegedly involved in high-level corruption at the utility during his appearance at Parliament.
He explained that security concerns and the sensitive and complex nature of the investigations are behind his decision to refrain from naming the people involved.
De Ruyter referred the committee to the Hawks, a police unit investigating high-profile crimes, to better determine the details that various investigations could provide.
ANC wants to sue De Ruyter
Although ANC heavyweight Phosa argues that De Ruyter was right, the official stance of the ruling party is the opposite.
On 28 February 2023, the ANC issued a letter of demand to De Ruyter and Eskom to issue a retraction and an apology. It did not happen.
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the party has served De Ruyter with court papers regarding his allegations against the ANC.
In March, the ANC’s attorney, Krish Naidoo, said the party was preparing to sue De Ruyter for defamation.
“We are finalising summons. The ANC just has to settle on a quantum, so we are busy working on that now,” he said.
“We think that there is something illegal committed by De Ruyter. The ANC is a political party that has not instructed anyone to go to Eskom and mess things up,” Mbalula said.