South Africa

Why Andre de Ruyter won’t name corrupt ministers

Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter refused to name the ministers allegedly involved in high-level corruption at the utility during his appearance at Parliament. 

De Ruyter appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to testify about a series of allegations he made about corruption at Eskom during an interview on eNCA in February. 

In the interview on eNCA, De Ruyter said the power utility is a feeding trough for the ANC and that the party is stuck in outdated communist ideologies.

He made numerous explosive revelations, including that there is knowledge and support of 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.

When asked by Scopa to give more detail about these accusations, particularly relating to the names of the government officials and ministers involved, De Ruyter refused. 

He directed Scopa to law enforcement agencies and Eskom for more information on ongoing investigations at the utility. 

De Ruyter said he is constrained in providing certain information for numerous reasons.

  1. Lack of access to documents. As De Ruyter is no longer the CEO of Eskom, he does not have access to documents relating to ongoing investigations at the utility. “I am not in possession of certain documents or material that is in the possession of Eskom and law enforcement”, said De Ruyter. He directed Scopa to law enforcement for further information. 
  2. The nature of the alleged criminal activities. De Ruyter said that given the nature of organised crime ongoing at the utility, the sources he used have good reason to fear for their safety. Thus, he said that he would refrain from mentioning their identities. A list of sources was given to Hawks to supplement their investigations. Scopa was once again directed to the Hawks for further information. 
  3. Sensitive and complex nature of the investigations. De Ruyter said he was limited in the information he could give Scopa as investigations are ongoing. To avoid compromising ongoing investigations, De Ruyter said he would refrain from giving sensitive information to Parliament. “I respectfully direct the committee to the appropriate officers who are in a better place to judge what information can be disclosed without compromising ongoing investigations”. The allegations are currently under investigation by the Hawks.
  4. Forensic investigations are protected by legal privilege. There are various forensic investigations at the utility that are subject to legal and professional privileges attached to Eskom. De Ruyter said that if he were to expose the details of these investigations, it would compromise Eskom’s ability to gather evidence. It is up to the utility to disclose the information.

De Ruyter added later in the Scopa meeting that he is concerned for his safety and thus unwilling to divulge sensitive information publicly.


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