Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter faced vicious attacks following an interview where he exposed ANC corruption at Eskom and embarrassing behind-the-scenes information.
In the interview, De Ruyter said the power utility is a feeding trough for the ANC and that the party is stuck in outdated communist ideologies.
He also revealed that there is knowledge and support for corruption at the highest levels of the ruling party and the government.
He said the ANC only wants what will win them the next election, not what will keep the country going for the next two decades.
The public and businesses, tired of load-shedding, corruption, and mismanagement, welcomed De Ruyter’s comments.
However, he faced severe attacks from political quarters for his comments about Eskom’s problems and criticism of the ruling party.
Eskom Chairman Mpho Makwana said De Ruyter behaved “reprehensibly” when he made accusations of theft and corruption within the power utility.
Makwana said in an interview with Radio 702 Thursday that De Ruyter hadn’t discussed the majority of his allegations with the board.
He added that the former CEO spent his time “chasing renewables” rather than focusing on fixing existing coal plants and avoided a performance review by resigning just before it.
ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula has threatened to take legal action against De Ruyter for his allegations that senior ANC members were involved in Eskom corruption.
Mbalula questioned De Ruyters’ political position and even said he would not be surprised if he campaigned for another party ahead of the 2024 elections.
He added that De Ruyter had right-wing leanings, failed in his duties at Eskom, and acted repulsively during the interview.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan also attacked De Ruyter for “meddling” in politics instead of focusing on ending load-shedding.
Gordhan said it is important for a CEO of any entity, including Eskom, not to be involved in open political debates or assertions.
“Where they have political views, that is their private business, and they are welcome to express those views privately,” he said.
The minister said De Ruyter’s focus should have been on doing a good job as Eskom’s CEO and ensuring it is done as proficiently as possible.
He downplayed De Ruyter’s allegations that little is done to combat corruption and theft at Eskom and that senior officials continue to loot.
“Lots of people have been reported to the law enforcement authorities for alleged involvement in acts of corruption or fraud,” he said.
He added that there had been numerous investigations that they had appeared in courts with many trials scheduled to be heard.
South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is taking legal action to force De Ruyter to reveal the name of a minister he mentioned in his interview.
De Ruyter said he approached a senior minister about a high-level politician that was 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.
The former Eskom CEO would not divulge the name of the minister, but SAFTU is now planning to lay charges against De Ruyter for not divulging this information.
On Wednesday evening, Eskom announced that De Ruyter had left the power utility with immediate effect following a special board meeting.
“The Eskom Board and Group Chief Executive (GCE) Andrè de Ruyter have reached a mutual agreement to curtail his notice period to 28 February 2023,” Eskom said.
“The board further resolved that De Ruyter will not be required to serve the balance of his notice period but that he will be released from his position with immediate effect.”
On Friday, Eskom announced the appointment of Calib Cassim as Interim Group CEO with immediate effect. Cassim will lead the Eskom management team until further notice.