Big questions over André de Ruyter cyanide poisoning allegations

Intelligence reports produced by George Fivaz Forensic and Risk (GFFR) allege that former deputy president David Mabuza and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe may be involved in an alleged assassination attempt on former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter.

However, the reports and dossier have been criticised as nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations and outlandish conspiracy theories by Jacques Pauw, who investigated the issue.

News24 revealed that De Ruyter partnered with Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) and other business leaders to fund the R50 million investigation, which started in January 2022.

De Ruyter based many of his allegations during an eNCA interview on fraud and corruption at Eskom and the government’s involvement in these crimes on the GFFR investigation.

“The Fivaz reports, and diagrams are stuffed with wild and uncorroborated allegations of Mantashe and Mabuza’s involvement in criminal syndicates in Mpumalanga looting Eskom,” News24 reported.

“GFFR does not provide any evidence for the claims that Mabuza and Mantashe are involved in this criminality.”

News24 also revealed that a February 2023 analysis report implicated Mabuza, Mantashe, or both, in the alleged poisoning of De Ruyter.

David Mabuza, former deputy president of the Republic of South Africa

During his explosive eNCA interview, De Ruyter provided details about the day he was allegedly poisoned at his office in Megawatt Park.

“I then asked my personal assistant (PA) for a cup of coffee. She knows I am a caffeine addict and always keeps them coming,” he said.

“My PA left my personalised mug unattended at the coffee machine. She informed me that the machine was broken and offered to make instant coffee,” De Ruyter explained.

“However, by the time she arrived back at the coffee station, the machine had been repaired, and a cup of coffee was presented to me.”

He drank the coffee and did not find anything strange. The consistency of the foam was slightly different, but he thought nothing of it because the coffee tasted the same.

“After 15 to 20 minutes, I started feeling extremely nauseous. I was off-balance, and I started getting confused,” he said.

“I was sitting opposite a colleague and could not find the word for ‘power station’. I said it was a filling station and even a petrol station.”

De Ruyter also started to yawn because of a lack of oxygen. “I started gasping for air and realised something was wrong, and I needed to get to a doctor quickly.”

His security detail drove him to his general practitioner, who examined him and ruled out a heart attack and hypoglycaemia.

The doctor moved De Ruyter to a day-clinic bed and put him on a vitamin B drip.

“When the blood samples were being taken, I called the doctor over and said we should do a tox screen as well because there is something wrong here. This is not right.”

At that stage, he was shaking badly and gasping for air. “I vomited copiously, which was a good thing.”

During this time, De Ruyter was put on a vitamin B drip called jet fuel. “I think the doctor who prescribed this inadvertently saved my life because vitamin B binds with the cyanide molecule,” he said.

“That very high dosage administered so quickly helped to absorb some of the cyanide.”

The doctor later confirmed that his cyanide levels were somewhat higher than expected. He returned for a follow-up test which confirmed significantly elevated cyanide levels.

When it became apparent the story would break, he laid a charge of attempted murder at the police.

De Ruyter said he had no idea who poisoned him. However, one of the individuals who fixed the coffee machine had absconded from work and disappeared.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and Mining Indaba Advisory Board chairperson (now Eskom chair) Mpho Makwana, arrives at the Cape Town International Convention Centre to deliver the keynote at the 25th annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba. February 2019.

A GFFR report has now implicated Mabuza, Mantashe, or both, in the alleged assassination attempt.

“A source, with the assistance of unwitting co-workers, reports about the poisoning of the Eskom CEO André de Ruyter in 2022,” the GFFR report states.

“All the fingers point to the outgoing deputy president, DD Mabuza, as the culprit who issued the instruction to poison De Ruyter.”

News24 reported that the Fivaz firm said it is “known that Mabuza has a hit squad at his disposal known as Team Shikisha that has killed several people who have opposed him”.

“The instruction to poison De Ruyter was channelled to someone at the top within Megawatt Park, a trusted individual who interpreted the instruction and conducted it to the assassin who carried out the murderous poisoning deed,” the report states.

GFFR added that Mantashe could also have poisoned De Ruyter because he owns a coal mine, through proxies, benefitting from illegal mining at the notorious Optimum Coal Mine.

“Mantashe and Mabuza share in proceeds from organised crime. Mabuza and Mantashe have a special relationship, call it a bond, and are also very close; They cannot be separated,” the report states.

“Theoretically, it could be either Mabuza, Mantashe or both who conspired to have De Ruyter poisoned. Unfortunately, within the ANC, people kill each other.”

The GFFR reports, and statements in them have been slated for lack of evidence and bordering on conspiracy theories based on poor intelligence.

Pauw, who was working on a book regarding fraud and corruption at Eskom, which relied on the GFFR reports, backtracked on the project because of the wild and untested claims.

He told Newzroom Africa it was necessary to expose the lack of evidence and, therefore, approached News24 editor Adriaan Basson to reveal the truth.

“I asked George Fivaz whether he has any evidence to implicate Mantashe and Mabuza in the poisoning of De Ruyter. He said, ‘No, no, we have no evidence; it was only speculation’,” Pauw said.

This article was first published by Daily Investor and is republished with permission.

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Big questions over André de Ruyter cyanide poisoning allegations