Eskom to act against De Ruyter over revelations, chairperson says book breached trust

Eskom Chairperson Mpho Makwana. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom Chairperson Mpho Makwana. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 19, 2023


Cape Town - Eskom interim chairperson Mpho Makwana says the Board will take action against former chief executive André de Ruyter for breach of trust and confidentiality in “a repulsive manner” through his recently published disclosures in a “tell all” book.

Makwana was speaking during Eskom’s “State of the System and Winter Outlook” briefing.

He said: “In the course of publishing this book, transgressions were carried out by an executive who was in a fiduciary position and in possession of proprietary information of a national key point.”

He alleged that De Ruyter “evaded being vetted” by processes that involve the country’s national security services agency.

Makwena was alluding to a statement in November last year by the then state security deputy minister Zizi Kodwa who said De Ruyter had not been fully vetted because he had not provided all of the information requested by the State Security Agency (SSA).

At the time, Eskom said it was not aware of any request by the SSA for any documentation on De Ruyter dating back to June that year.

Makwena said De Ruyter’s revelations in his book Truth to Power had also breached the Protection of Personal Information Act, various aspects of an executive directors’ duties as defined in the Companies Act, the PFMA and his own contract of employment clause on confidentiality.

“Our corporate governance teams are reviewing all this and will take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure that the board takes all necessary action.”

He said Eskom’s internal forensic department was collaborating with the police and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in dealing with cases of corruption at the power utility and that numerous arrests and prosecutions were under way.

He also said Eskom had meanwhile made good progress with its “reset” and would soon be appointing a new group chief executive.

In the meantime, Eskom has cautioned that the power system is severely constrained and there is a high risk of elevated stages of load shedding in winter.

Interim group chief executive Calib Cassim said South Africa had experienced the highest levels of load shedding as the energy availability factor deteriorated to 56% in the past financial year, against the target of 60%.

Giving the power utility’s performance overview, Generation group executive Bheki Nxumalo, said that the power generating system continues to show poor performance.

He said frequent plant breakdowns had subjected the country to varying and higher stages of load shedding.

Nxumalo said these shortages would persist throughout the winter months, necessitating continued implementation of load shedding.

His colleague, Eskom transmission group executive Segomoco Scheppers, tried to allay fears of a possible national blackout and said there were a number of control measures, including load shedding, that were aimed at protecting the power system from collapse.

Scheppers, however, cautioned that losses of 18 000MW or more during the winter period could result in the implementation of load shedding up to Stage 8.

Eskom Distribution executive Monde Bala said Eskom would continue to rely heavily on the extensive use of open-cycle gas turbines to prevent higher stages of load shedding, particularly during morning and evening peak.

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Cape Argus