The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said it would subpoena Andre de Ruyter if additional information is needed about his investigation into corruption at Eskom, who funded it, and why.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago spoke to Newzroom Afrika about the progress the unit is making with investigating corruption at Eskom and whether it is using De Ruyter’s report.
Kganyago said that the SIU is going through the privately-funded investigation carefully as it has to verify the information and see if it is relevant to ongoing investigations. The report is also hefty at over 1,400 pages.
The SIU also had immense difficulty accessing the report, with neither Eskom nor the relevant law enforcement agencies having the report.
When De Ruyter left Eskom at the end of February 2023, the SIU sought access to the report and wanted to interview the former Eskom CEO.
However, it received no response from De Ruyter, and it has still been unable to interview him.
It eventually went to George Fivaz Forensic and Risk (GFFR) directly to gain access to the report with the threat of subpoena.
GFFR compiled a damning report at the behest of De Ruyter and big business on criminal activity at Eskom, which implicated government officials.
The SIU is still trying to interview De Ruyter about the report and, more specifically, who funded the report and why.
Kganyago explained that the SIU has to investigate potential maladministration and malpractice in commissioning the report.
Advocate Andy Mothibi, the head of the SIU, explained to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that they want to know what benefit the funders could gain from the report.
Mothibi also wants to know why Eskom and its board do not have access to the report if it is directly relevant to them.
“If there is a need, the SIU will subpoena Mr De Ruyter”, Kganyago said.
A critical first step towards prosecution
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.
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 them evidence that can be used in court.