South Africa

Andre de Ruyter spoke out before he was silenced – Chris Yelland

André de Ruyter may have decided to stage his explosive interview on eNCA with Annika Larson last week to avoid exit contracts from silencing him.

This is the view of Chris Yelland, energy analyst and managing director of EE Business Intelligence, who spoke to eNCA about the timing of de Ruyter’s revelations last week.

Departing CEOs often have to sign contracts that provide legal impediments to disclosing the internal activities of their former employer, said Yelland.

“I think it possibly was a way of getting this out into the open before he left – before he is under all kinds of legal constraints that prevent him from talking,” he said. 

Yelland said that de Ruyter’s interview was a “whistleblower action” to inform the public about the corruption he experienced at Eskom. 

In the interview with Annika Larson, De Ruyter revealed that there is knowledge and support of corruption at the highest levels of the ruling party and the government.

De Ruyter estimated that R1 billion gets stolen from Eskom every month. 

He also said that his decision to report a high-level politician involved in sinister and potentially criminal activities at Eskom, to a senior minister was met with a blasé reaction.

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.

He revealed that there are at least four Mpumalanga-based organized crime cartels that operate in Eskom. 

“Clearly, there are many existing criminal networks, both within Eskom and amongst its contractors and suppliers – and according to de Ruyter, even up to the political level – that exist and continue to this day,” said Yelland.


Energy analyst Chris Yelland

In an interview with Radio 702, Eskom Chairman Mpho Makwana said De Ruyter behaved “reprehensibly” when he made accusations of theft and corruption within the power utility. 

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said that de Ruyter should not have expressed political views in his position as the CEO of Eskom. 

Gwede Mantashe told News24 that he views the allegations made by de Ruyter as wild and unsubstantiated.

Yelland said that the adverse reaction by many politicians to de Ruyter’s announcements was revealing.

“One can see from the reaction of politicians how defensive they are acting – it’s a sign that he’s touched on the truth. He’s talking truth to power, and the power [does] not like it,” Yelland said.

He added that the success of the Special Investigating Unit in uncovering corruption at Eskom probably represents the tip of the iceberg. 


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