Explosive Andre de Ruyter interview brought Eskom into disrepute – power utility

ANDRE de Ruyter beat 142 potential candidates, including eight Eskom employees, for the position as the power utility’s new chief executive.

ANDRE de Ruyter beat 142 potential candidates, including eight Eskom employees, for the position as the power utility’s new chief executive.

Published Feb 23, 2023


Johannesburg – Outgoing Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter brought the power utility into disrepute when he spoke in an explosive interview this week, leading to the board to demand he stepped down immediately on Wednesday.

This was revealed by Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Matshantsha on Thursday, who told Talk Radio 702 that the board felt de Ruyter had brought the organisation into disrepute when he made several explosive claims in an interview with e.tv.

In the interview which aired on Tuesday night, De Ruyter said there was rampant corruption at the power utility and he said undisclosed ministers were interfering with operations at the ailing power utility.

He also said the undisclosed leaders from the ANC were aware of corruption that was happening at Eskom and also that the utility serves as the ANC’s “feeding trough”.

He also claimed criminal syndicates in Mpumalanga were stealing around R1 billion a month from Eskom, and nothing was being done about it.

De Ruyter also blasted and termed as “ridiculous”, that ANC leaders called each other “comrades” and used words such as ”lumpenproletariat”. He said they were stuck in Marxist thinking.

ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula slammed de Ruyter on Thursday, saying it was unfortunate that he had exposed his right-wing attitude and had opportunistically ventured into the political arena.

“Now that he has exposed his political standing and ideology, he should have stood back and not taken up the position.

“We believe in people and we give them the benefit of the doubt.

“We thought de Ruyter was a patriot. We did not look at him because of colour, we looked at him as a South African who can deliver.

“Many political parties have attacked him from the word go, they said he failed at Nampak, but we said as the ANC we want to give him a chance, because we believed in him,” he said.

Mbalula also said de Ruyter failed as Eskom CEO and he failed to rein in the crippling load shedding the country was facing.

Mondli Gungubele, the Minister in the Presidency, also revealed to 702 that de Ruyter had failed to get himself vetted by the State Security Agency.

In the e.tv interview, de Ruyter said he did not trust the SSA, and said the process would have been used against him at a later stage.

Gungubele said it was “good” that de Ruyter had now left Eskom and said his revelations in the interview were merely accusations without evidence.

De Ruyter resigned as Eskom chief executive in December. He was expected to vacate office at the end of March, but the Eskom board reached agreement with de Ruyter on Wednesday, to leave the power utility immediately.

Eskom is expected to appoint an acting chief executive in the interim.

“There will be an acting CEO, the Eskom board and the minister of public enterprises as the shareholder, have to agree on the appointment of the new acting CEO.

“Eskom will announce that as soon as possible,” said Matshantsha.