Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s family came out in her defence over alleged racist remarks by Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter. I Theresa Taylor
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s family came out in her defence over alleged racist remarks by Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter. I Theresa Taylor

Madikizela-Mandela family irate over De Ruyter’s alleged racist remarks

By Thabo Makwakwa Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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DURBAN - The family of late Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have hit back at Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter over his and other executives’ alleged racist remarks while he was employed by Sasol.

Madikizela-Mandela’s family spokesperson, Thembelani Madikizela, said on Monday that his family was not shocked by the racists remarks allegedly made.

The Sunday World reported it was alleged that Werkman’s attorneys had uncovered racist emails in which De Ruyter and his colleagues at Sasol allegedly insinuated that while the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the “Iron Lady”, Madikizela-Mandela was an ironing lady.

“It is expected that as a Struggle icon, many racists would have created a narrative that she was a nobody. The remarks (allegedly) by De Ruyter clearly indicates he would’ve stood on the side of those who oppressed our people during the Struggle. So we are not surprised.”

Madikizela said they took exception to these “serious derogatory remarks on our aunt. Africans know that Madikizela-Mandela would have stood up to defend herself from such racist attacks from those who don’t value black lives”.

EFF president Julius Malema was apparently also not spared. De Ruyter and his colleagues allegedly called him a “white-kicker” when white people were, according to them, the taxpayers.

In response, the red berets said: “Black women are seen as nothing more than domestic workers, who deserve no respect and honour for their sterling work .

“De Ruyter and his colleagues had no appreciation of the invaluable contribution that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made in the fight for freedom in this country, because De Ruyter, his family and associates were and continue to be beneficiaries of the system that sought to confine women such as Madikizela-Mandela to a state of nothingness in the eyes of the white establishment.”

The EFF said: “It does not matter what contribution black women make to society, or the level of their qualifications, for white men like De Ruyter, black women will forever remain ironing ladies. They hold this perception of all black people, and even in the corporate environment, racists like De Ruyter treat black professionals in a derisive manner.

“We know this to be true even today when it comes to De Ruyter because he has been relentless in mistreating and even dismissing black executives ever since he arrived at Eskom.”

The EFF called for the Eskom Board to dismiss De Ruyter and said the protection he received from Eskom and the government was “disgusting and an insult to Madikizela-Mandela and those who died fighting to liberate this country”.

Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha said De Ruyter had on Monday received an email from David Hertz, chairperson of Werkman’s law firm, denying knowledge of the report.

“André de Ruyter first became aware of the alleged existence of this alleged Werksmans report as a consequence of questions Eskom received from Bloomberg News on December 4, 2019 – six years after such alleged investigation. To this day, Mr De Ruyter has never been presented with any report, or draft.

“It is very disappointing but not surprising that such an alleged report that appears to be an incomplete hatchet job is now being circulated to inflict maximum damage to his reputation. We would hope the media applies proper standards of journalism ethics and be fully aware of its role in perpetuating and aiding such a nefarious agenda.”

Attempts to reach Werkman’s law firm were unsuccessful.

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Daily News

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