Pretoria – Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana says the ousted CEO André de Ruyter never once raised corruption allegations against an undisclosed minister to the board of the ailing power utility.
Makwana has also revealed that de Ruyter handed in his resignation in December, just days before he was due to a performance review with the board.
De Ruyter left the power utility with immediate effect on Wednesday night after a special board meeting sat after he sat for an explosive interview with e.tv.
In the e.tv interview, de Ruyter said the ANC was feeding at the trough at Eskom and he said an undisclosed minister was benefiting from corruption at Eskom. He also said criminal syndicates in Mpumalanga were benefiting improperly, to the tune of about R1bn per month.
Makwana spoke to Talk Radio 702 on Thursday, said de Ruyter’s comments in the interview had never been raised with the board.
“It is unpalatable for any chief executive that has a platform to have a one-on-one with the chair of the board, has full access to the shareholders (the minister or public entreprises Pravhin Gordhan), has full access to all the key players he mentioned in the interview.
“And play to the gallery in a public interview when you have not even tabled any of those matters you tabled before your board.
“Ninety percent of what he shared with the public, we heard for the first time in that interview… What he did was totally reprehensible and unacceptable,” he said.
Makwana said De Ruyter chose to drive his passion of renewable as opposed to looking at fixing existing coal power plants and get them to perform while also facilitating a transition to renewable energy.
“It is desirable by any means to be in line with government policy to create a healthy balance as we evolve towards renewable energy,” he said.
In his interview with eNCA, De Ruyter said he raised his concerns with a minister about a high-level politician who was involved in sinister and potentially criminal activities at the utility and nothing was done about it.
Replying to the allegations, Makwana said because De Ruyter knew the name of the politician, he should have reported the matter to the police.
“He was duty bound to walk to the nearest police station and report that matter if he felt he didn’t enjoy confidence in all the existing platforms that he had access to”.
Makwana said the board was also not happy with De Ruyter’s performance as he was not fulfilling his key duties, and a date was set to look at his performance, however, he “skilfully” avoided a performance review by resigning ahead of it.
“Instead of going into the planned discussion… it was then superseded by him submitting a letter of resignation,” Makwana said.
Meanwhile, the Black Business Council (BBC) chief executive Kganki Matabane, has welcomed Eskom board's decision to release De Ruyter with immediate effect following his interview.
The BBC slammed De Ruyter saying he was a failure who brought the economy of South Africa to its knees.
"The BBC is of the view that he should have vacated his position the day he tendered his resignation as he had nothing positive to hand over to the new group CEO,’’ the BBC said.
De Ruyter has revealed that he will be leaving South Africa due to safety concerns.
Meanwhile, Eskom said the board and Gordhan would meet and decide on a suitable candidate as the acting Eskom chief executive.