Andre de Ruyter’s R50 million intelligence report into corruption at Eskom has recently been defended as a “forceful springboard from which investigations into corruption at Eskom should be launched”.
De Ruyter initiated a private investigation into corruption at Eskom at the end of 2021, which was intended to complement law enforcement investigations at the utility.
From this investigation, forensic investigation organisation George Fivaz Forensic and Risk (GFFR) compiled a damning report on criminal activity at Eskom, which implicated government officials.
Based on the information from this report, De Ruyter made several allegations in an eNCA interview with Annika Larsen. Following this interview, De Ruyter left the country.
However, the report by Fivaz has since been scrutinised, with journalist Jacques Pauw claiming it “contained no facts” and was “effectively worthless”.
According to Pauw, the investigation also relied on evidence collected by a former Apartheid operative, Tony Oosthuizen.
Pauw claimed that Oosthuizen held racist views and boasted to him about committing murders during the Apartheid era.
The investigation allegedly used “rogue, half-baked intelligence dossiers” to form the basis of “wild and uncorroborated allegations”.
However, the report has recently been defended by advocate Cerita Joubert, a former police superintendent.
Joubert has lectured and published extensively on the methodologies of police work as the editor and main author of all five editions of a core South African Police Service training manual, Applied Law for Police Officials.
Fivaz approached Joubert to conduct an analysis of the intelligence his operatives gathered following Pauw’s criticism.
Joubert’s analysis concluded that the intelligence reports compiled by GFFR “constitute a critical first step and forceful springboard from which investigations can and should be launched”.
According to Joubert, it is up to the security cluster, including the Hawks and Special Investigating Unit (SIU), to turn the intelligence into evidence through investigation.
The reports detailed the prevalence of organised crime and corruption at Eskom, much of which has been corroborated by other investigations and journalists.
The Daily Maverick has said that information gathered by its journalists confirms much of the intelligence contained in the Fivaz reports.
Report has had some success
When asked if commissioning the report and investigation was worth it, De Ruyter told BizNews that it had 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.
“So I would say that the investigation has at least achieved some success.”
De Ruyter was also asked about his recent book, Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom, wherein he exposes widespread corruption and incompetence at the power utility.
De Ruyter said, “In some ways, I’m the boy who pointed out that the Emperor’s new clothes were imaginary and that the naked truth was far less attractive than everyone pretended.”
“But I think someone has to say out loud what many were thinking. Otherwise, we are forsaking our duty to our country.”
However, De Ruyter maintained that he did not want to disclose the identity of donors to the project.
“Given that they did so anonymously, given how I have been treated, I can understand that they don’t want to disclose their identity.”
Law enforcement must do more
According to Joubert, the intelligence collected points to a pattern of racketeering activity that falls under organised crime and thus can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act.
This Act was designed to prosecute cases such as this. However, bringing kingpins and high-level criminals to book is notoriously difficult.
Media outlets such as the Daily Maverick are unable to gain access to documentary evidence held by Eskom, such as procurement records.
However, law enforcement agencies such as the SIU and the Hawks have subpoena powers and can access the documents that may give evidence that can be used in court.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) have had access to the Fivaz reports since July last year, while the Hawks have had partial access since then.
The SIU has now been given all the reports, yet not much progress has been made in following up on the claims made in the reports.