Andre de Ruyter exposes widespread Eskom corruption in new book
Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has released a new book, Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom, in which he exposes widespread corruption and incompetence at the power utility.
The book, which went on sale on Sunday, was kept secret. Staff at Exclusive Books told Daily Investor they were unaware of the book’s launch.
The boxes with Andre de Ruyter’s Truth to Power also had a different name on them. It was later explained it was necessary to avoid the book being blocked from being released.
In his book, De Ruyter explained that he realised soon after taking the hot seat in January 2020 why being Eskom CEO was considered the toughest job in South Africa.
Aside from neglected equipment, ageing power stations and an eroded skills base, he discovered that Eskom was crippled by corruption on a staggering scale.
He highlighted numerous cases where fraud and corruption caused widespread harm, including:
- Fake fuel oil deliveries at just one power station cost Eskom R100 million per month.
- Kneepads retailing for R150 a pair were purchased for R80 000.
- Billions of rands of equipment supposedly housed in the company’s storerooms were missing.
- A senior Mpumalanga police official interfered to ensure that coal-theft cases would not be prosecuted.
After he realised that the police and related state security agencies would not help, he entered the world of spies and safe houses, bulletproof vests, and bodyguards.
In his book, De Ruyter tells the behind-the-scenes story of launching a private investigation that exposed at least four criminal cartels feeding off Eskom.
While fighting corruption, he dealt with political interference, non-paying municipalities, unfounded accusations of racism, wildcat strikes, sabotage, and a poisoning attempt.
He sheds light on what happened inside the boardrooms and government meetings where South Africa’s future is shaped, with ministers often pulling in conflicting directions.
De Ruyter said he discussed his concerns with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was overseeing Eskom.
Gordhan told De Ruyter they needed to gather more information, prompting him to launch a private investigation.
Because of challenges related to funding such an investigation through state money, he approached the private sector.
He employed George Fivaz Forensic and Risk (GFFR) to do the eighteen-month investigation for a fee of around R50 million.
The investigation highlighted two high-ranking politicians, whom De Ruyter did not mention by name in his book.
However, media reports said they are former deputy president David Mabuza and Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.
De Ruyter also revealed that he was warned about a plot to destabilise Eskom in January, which would plunge the country into stage 6 load-shedding.
The plan, which involved numerous Eskom employees, was to worsen load-shedding and hurt President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The increased load-shedding would also be used in calls for De Ruyter to be removed as Eskom CEO.
Commenting on Ramaphosa, he said the president has a weak leadership style which is not suited to lead a country.
Apart from details about corruption and political interference, he also explains that renewable energy is the cheapest and quickest solution to South Africa’s power crisis.
There is fierce opposition to renewables from many high-ranking government officials because of vested coal interests.
He also delves into his failures, including his poor performance addressing increased load-shedding during his tenure.
“I did not solve load-shedding. I also did not address all the corruption. But I did make a good start in solving energy security,” he said.