André de Ruyter’s revelations about alleged Eskom tender corruption

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has alleged that design criteria for systems at Kusile power station were manipulated to ensure ANC-connected Hitachi Power Africa won the tender.

He also blamed South Africa’s energy crisis on the rampant ANC-supported corruption at Eskom, and “evidence suggests” the ANC was using the state-owned power utility as a “feeding trough”.

The stunning allegations were part of De Ruyter’s interview with Annika Larsen on E-tv’s My Guest Tonight, that aired on Tuesday.

“If you look at the reasons for [the high likelihood of greater than stage 6 load-shedding this winter] — we lost three units at Kusile due to the collapse of a flue duct,” De Ruyter said.

“There was carry-over from the flue gas desulphurisation unit because the exhaust gas temperature from the boiler supplied by Hitachi [Power Africa] is too high.”

De Ruyter highlighted that Hitachi was in a joint venture with Chancellor House, the investment arm of the ANC.

“As will become apparent in the near future, there was substantial manipulation of design criteria in order to ensure that Hitachi got that tender,” he said.

“But, fact of the matter is, if the contract had initially been awarded correctly, without corruption, we would not have had the severity of load-shedding that we have right now.”

Andre de Ruyter, chief executive officer of Eskom Holdings Ltd., during a Bloomberg Television interview at the South Africa Investment Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Kusile and Medupi have nameplate capacities of 4,800MW, with six generating units each.

Had both power plants been finished on time and their units all been generating electricity like they were supposed to, they would mitigate six to eight stages of load-shedding.

“Corruption is the gift that just can’t stop giving,” De Ruyter said.

The fact that Chancellor House was set up to fund the ANC by taking a cut of some government contracts is not new.

Mail & Guardian and the Institute for Security Studies revealed the link between the ANC and Chancellor House in 2006.

Investigative journalists also exposed a conflict of interest in 2008 when they found that then-Eskom board chair Valli Moosa also served on the ANC’s fundraising committee.

Moosa presided over the board when the contracts were awarded to Hitachi and, by extension, Chancellor House.

The ANC and Hitachi have steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

De Ruyter’s revelations, if accurate, could provide crucial evidence against the legality of the deal and the people who helped it across the line.

Kusile power station flue ducts

At the same time, News24 reports that a campaign is underway in Eskom’s senior leadership to end a contract with law firm Bowmans to investigate corruption at the power utility.

The contract is currently up for renegotiation.

According to the report, Bowmans worked with the Special Investigating Unit to expose a corrupt network within Eskom’s Group Capital Division that helped extract billions of rands through the Kusile project.

The report states Bowmans identified hundreds of contracts and tenders they believed could be corrupt, valued over R170 billion.

MyBroadband contacted Hitachi Power Africa and the ANC for comment.

The ANC declined to directly answer De Ruyter’s allegation that Kusile’s design criteria were manipulated, which led to South Africa’s current crisis.

Instead, it referred to a statement the party issued on Friday attacking De Ruyter, calling him right-wing and opportunistic, and suggesting that he has political ambitions.

It also said De Ruyter was trying to shift blame and called his accusations “baseless”.

Hitachi Power Africa did not respond by publication.

Now read: Eskom confirms stage 7 load-shedding

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André de Ruyter’s revelations about alleged Eskom tender corruption