Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter has survived a murder attempt at his office in Megawatt Park, where he drank a cup of coffee laced with cyanide.
De Ruyter has confirmed the attempt on his life, which took place on Tuesday 13 December 2022, a day after he submitted his resignation as CEO to the Eskom chairman, Mpho Makwana, but before this became publicly known on 14 December 2022.
“I have reported the matter to SAPS [the South African Police Service] on 5 January 2022, and the case can be assumed to be under investigation,” he told EE Business Intelligence.
A trusted source external to Eskom indicated to EE Business Intelligence that after drinking a cup of coffee in his office at Eskom Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, De Ruyter became weak, dizzy and confused, shaking uncontrollably and vomiting copiously. He subsequently collapsed, unable to walk.
He was rushed to his doctor’s rooms by his security detail, where his condition was diagnosed as cyanide poisoning, and treated accordingly. Tests taken subsequently confirmed massively elevated levels of cyanide in his body.
This has been further confirmed by a second high level-source, as well as De Ruyter’s own words confirming his reporting of the matter to SAPS.
De Ruyter and his executive team have been clamping down and cutting off illicit revenue streams from procurement irregularities, fraud, theft, corruption and maladministration, both within Eskom and by certain of its suppliers and contractors.
High levels of criminality and corruption are particularly prevalent in Mpumalanga Province where there is a high concentration of aging and poorly performing Eskom coal-fired power stations.
The month of December 2022 was marred by extremely high levels of rolling power cuts throughout South Africa, which is unusual at a time when electricity demand is traditionally its lowest as the country enters the summer holiday period and festive season.
De Ruyter has indicated that his position as CEO of Eskom became untenable after ANC chairman and Mineral Resources & Energy minister Gwede Mantashe publicly accused Eskom management of “agitating for the overthrow of the state”.
The attempted murder also occurred only days before the start of the ANC elective conference held at the NASREC Expo Centre, Johannesburg, from 16 to 20 December 2022.
The period in the lead up to and during the conference is a time of significantly heightened political tension as factions of the ruling party nominate and contest the positions for the party’s president, its “top 7” leadership, and its National Executive Committee (NEC).
It is becoming clearer that certain disaffected political and criminal elements have been engaging in deliberate acts of sabotage, theft and vandalism that worsens security of supply in South Africa, to the extent where state security is compromised.
The deployment of the South African Defence Force (SADF) to protect Eskom power station assets at a number of Eskom coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga Province, announced during the ANC elective conference, indicates the perceived severity of the threats.
By Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Business Intelligence