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Eskom board will take action against De Ruyter over tell-all

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    Nat Quinn
    Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana says the utility’s board is reviewing several alleged “transgressions” that former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter had committed in media interviews and in his recently-published book.
    Speaking during an Eskom State of the System update on Thursday, Makwana said De Ruyter had broken the trust of the utility in the “most repulsive manner possible”.
    De Ruyter made serious accusations regarding the involvement of senior ANC politicians in corruption at Eskom during a bombshell interview on E-tv’s My Guest Tonight with Annika Larsen, which aired in February 2023.
    He expanded upon some of these allegations in Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom — a book published by Penguin Random House that appeared in stores on Sunday morning without any prior announcement.
    In addition to confirming that he had raised the suspected involvement of a senior politician in the Mpumalanga coal cartels to public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, the former CEO delved into serious operational shortcomings and a “culture of neglect” at the utility.
    De Ruyter included details about the explosion of Medupi Unit 4, Kusile nearly running out of coal, and a general inability to perform the required planned maintenance to extend the life of coal-fired power stations.
    Medupi and Kusile are supposed to be Eskom’s flagship coal power stations, undertaken specifically to deal with South Africa’s energy crisis.
    Makwana alleged that De Ruyter had committed “transgressions” with his revelations because he was an executive in a fiduciary position in possession of proprietary information of a national key point.
    “Most importantly, breaches occurred in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, various aspects of an executive director’s duties as defined in the Companies Act, the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and his own contract of employment clauses on confidentiality,” said Makwana.
    “Our corporate governance teams are reviewing all this and will take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure that the board takes all necessary action.”
    Makwana’s allegations of transgressions by De Ruyter come after the former CEO slated the Eskom board chair in his book.
    Gordhan ousted nearly the entire Eskom board and appointed a new one with Makwana at its head on 30 September 2022.
    De Ruyter questions Makwana’s competence, work ethic, and integrity, and recounts a story of the day he told Gordan and Makwana that he had allegedly been poisoned on the same day he had resigned:

    Gordhan immediately called me and was very solicitous. He was concerned for my safety and outraged that this had happened. He immediately made the connection to my battle against organised crime and corruption, and told me that the attempt on my life was an indication of how close we were getting to the real crooks. He even made the effort to drive to my house in Hermanus during the holidays to commiserate, which I very much appreciated.

    Mpho’s reaction was somewhat different.

    ‘Sad to hear,’ he texted me, as though my hamster had died.

    Aside from the personal attack on Makwana, De Ruyter allegedly gave unvetted operatives unrestricted access to sensitive Eskom information through the privately-funded R50-million investigation undertaken by George Fivaz Forensic & Risk.
    The private investigator has not responded to MyBroadband’s request for comment following the book’s publication.
    Preliminary findings from that investigation have been called into question by News24’s Jacques Pauw, primarily due to the involvement of a former Apartheid security operative, Tony Oosthuizen.
    Pauw has labelled the “evidence”, which formed the basis of De Ruyter’s claims of top ANC members’ involvement in Eskom corruption, as “wild” and “untested”.
    Makwana has also accused De Ruyter of “evading” vetting by the State Security Agency (SSA).
    In November 2022, the then-deputy minister of the SSA in the Presidency, Zizi Kodwa, told Parliament that De Ruyter had not been fully vetted because he still had to provide the agency with certain documentation.
    “We were promised by Mr De Ruyter that by the beginning of June, he will give us the outstanding documents,” Kodwa said.
    Eskom spokesperson at the time, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, rejected the accusation.
    “Only in October 2022 did Eskom receive the vetting documents for processing by the CEO — who has been in this position since January 2020 — and other executives,” said Mantshantsha.
    “Eskom has been updating Parliament on the delays in this process regularly over the past three years. It is therefore inaccurate to claim Eskom has delayed the vetting process of its executives.
    “Since the receipt of this form, the vetting process for the executive team has commenced in earnest, and Eskom will do everything possible to complete this process as soon as possible.”
    In his book, De Ruyter also said he had made no promise to provide the SSA with documents by June 2022.
    He explained that he deeply mistrusted the SSA, which he previously accused of sending an operative to spy on him at the COP27 climate conference. He also questioned the SSA’s sudden desire to vet him after three years on the job:

    Vetting is a process where employees have to submit to rigorous checks into contacts with foreign governments (I had a lot of those) and time spent in foreign countries (I had lived in three foreign countries and had visited a score of others), and to disclose in-depth financial information. Knowing the adversaries roosting in the SSA, I had very little appetite to give them personal financial information. After all, the SSA was one of the state entities which regularly used listening devices identical to the one found in my car.

    I had been trustworthy enough for three years to head up Eskom, what had suddenly changed that warranted this level of scrutiny? The only possible reason to my mind was that the intelligence services were discomfited by what I had been uncovering in Mpumalanga.

    It should be noted that De Ruyter’s claims about a bug in his car are disputed. He has continued to maintain that he found a surveillance device in his car despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
    While Makwana was scathing about the way in which De Ruyter made his allegations, he said the Eskom board’s Audit and Risk Committee would nonetheless embark on an independent investigation to confirm the veracity of De Ruyter’s claims.


    source:Eskom board will take action against De Ruyter over tell-all (mybroadband.co.za)

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