Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said a long list of people want him dead for fighting corruption and theft at the power utility.
De Ruyter revealed this during an interview on ENCA’s talk show, “My Guest Tonight with Annika Larsen”.
The Eskom CEO, who is set to leave the company next month, estimates that around R1 billion is stolen monthly from the power utility.
“We know of at least four organised crime cartels operating in Mpumalanga operating in Eskom,” he said.
“Some of them also have an interest in Transnet, which we see in our inability to use rail to get coal to the Majuba power station.”
The four criminal cartels are sophisticated, well-organised, and even adopted language associated with the Mafia, like captains and soldiers.
“They have a hit squad of between sixty and seventy highly trained and well-armed people. People get assassinated in Mpumalanga.”
“The media may have become desensitised to the killings, but pretty much every week, there is an assassination.”
He said it shows that crime and corruption at Eskom are deeply entrenched and highly organised.
The criminal networks have extended their tentacles to many Eskom workers who sabotage and vandalise power stations on their behalf.
“The person who committed the sabotage is not the kingpin. It is an ordinary employee, and you cannot post policemen to look over everyone’s shoulder,” he said.
De Ruyter said they have started implementing measures to fight power station sabotage, including installing high-definition cameras with AI systems.
However, the cameras often go down when they should be functional, which is always followed by a spate of incidents.
The Eskom CEO said they intensified their efforts to fight crime and corruption and have made some inroads in tackling the problems.
However, by closing the taps on billions in proceeds of crime, he did “not make any friends” and put a target on his back.
De Ruyter recently revealed that there was an attempt on his life in December 2022. Doctors found high cyanide levels in his blood after he felt dizzy and disoriented at the office.
Commenting on the poisoning, he said it is difficult to speculate who was behind the attempt on his life. “There is a pretty long list of people with motive,” he said.