De Ruyter releases Eskom book with explosive allegations

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has repeated his allegation politicians as high up as the Union Buildings help criminal syndicates in looting the power utility and putting the country’s power supply at risk, the Sunday Times reports.

In his tell-all book about his time at the power utility, entitled Truth to Power, My Three Years Inside Eskom and released today, De Ruyter also detailed a years-long investigation kept from Eskom and police leadership.

The former CEO alleged that a “highly placed politician” had essentially blocked Eskom and the South African Police Service (SAPS) from acting on intelligence uncovered in the investigation.

He said the politician, who was part of the presidential task team, had “requested that all information be shared only with him”.

This was only one of the challenges he says he faced in his fight against corruption at Eskom.

De Ruyter alleged that a senior SAPS officer actively tried to ensure that those nabbed for stealing coal were never prosecuted.

They also allegedly ensured there were never roadblocks on the routes frequented by coal syndicates.

The former Eskom CEO recalled an incident where coal trucks used a different route than normal and were stopped at a roadblock.

He said officers manning the roadblock promptly received a call from the Union Buildings, asking them, “Don’t you have better things to do than to stop coal trucks? Let them go.”

Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises

The short extract below details a conversation between De Ruyter, Gordhan, and Phindile Baleni, director-general in the Presidency, regarding resistance the CEO was facing in government circles.

I also spoke about the resistance we were meeting in government circles, even in National Treasury. Gordhan, as a former minister of finance, was somewhat protective of his old department.

“Treasury?!” he asked querulously.

I told him there was a bureaucrat in Treasury who had supplied false information in a letter that Dondo Mogajane, the director-general of Treasury, had signed. The letter concerned the appointment of a contractor to install coal-unloading equipment at the Majuba power plant’s railway line.

The Treasury official had alleged that the contractor was blacklisted by the auditor-general, but when we contacted the AG’s office, they made it clear that they had done no such thing. I informed Mogajane, who was very apologetic but took no action against the official.

“Give me a name, give me a name!” Gordhan demanded.

I duly supplied a name.

‘Give me a name, give me a name!’ Gordhan demanded

Before Gordhan could answer, Baleni said: “Oh, I know them. During the PPE procurement for Covid, they tried to intervene and tried to push through a transaction that we had to stop because it was clearly irregular.”

Full extract available in the Sunday Times

In his book, De Ruyter also doubles down on his statement that he informed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and Sydney Mufamadi, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national security adviser, of the names of two high-level politicians involved in sabotage.

“Gordhan looked over at Mufamadi and said, ‘Well, I guess it was inevitable that it would come out’,” he wrote.

This is the same revelation — without naming names — that he made during his explosive interview on E-tv’s My Guest Tonight with Annika Larsen.

Coal syndicates have plagued the state-owned power utility for years

Gordhan is set to appear before parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday, 17 May 2023.

De Ruyter’s timely book will likely create headaches for South Africa’s public enterprises minister.

The committee is expected to grill the minister for the names when he appears, as De Ruyter refused to supply them for fear of his life.

De Ruyter essentially told Scopa to speak to Gordhan and Mufamadi for answers.

“Ask Minister Gordhan and Dr Mufamadi because they were informed. They are aware,” he said.

“As you know, I am not in a position where I have immunity. I, therefore, am unable to make any statement that could potentially put me at risk of any legal action, whether it be civil or criminal.”

Asked if he would divulge the names if granted immunity from prosecution, De Ruyter said he believed his physical security would still be at risk.

“Regarding the identity of the minister concerned, I think that this is a question which I would see falling within the ambit of potential security risks that could arise from such disclosure,” he said.

“I, therefore, would direct, with respect, the committee to rather engage with the oversight minister.”

Now read: Eskom nails four for fraud and corruption at Tutuka power station

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De Ruyter releases Eskom book with explosive allegations