Pretoria – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has confirmed that former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter spoke to him about alleged corruption practices by a senior government official at the ailing power utility, but he never offered any evidence.
Gordhan was speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Monday following De Ruyter’s interview last week, where he made shocking revelations that some high-level ministers said people have got to “eat”, referring to corruption at Eskom.
He said he had discussions with De Ruyter regarding corruption and the involvement of various people, but no names were mentioned.
“Yes, he has made allusions about certain individuals, but it was precisely that, allusions ... As far as the law is concerned, I can’t just arbitrarily point to someone and say that person is involved in whatever the suggestion is about being corrupt or being involved in corruption.
“We cannot rely on rumour, suspicion or what even certain publications call intelligence. There’s a distinction between that and evidence. If Mr de Ruyter has the evidence, which I don’t know, he must take the initiative and do what is legally required of him,” Gordhan said.
He added that as a minister, he can’t be expected to act on rumours and point fingers at people.
“I don’t have the evidence, I have a suggestion... there is a legal process in South Africa, follow the legal process.”
When asked if De Ruyter has the evidence of corruption, Gordhan replied: “I’m sure he has more that what he is suggesting.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with 702, a day after De Ruyter’s allegations, Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana said De Ruyter never raised corruption allegations against an undisclosed minister to the board.
Like Gordhan, 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.”
A day after his controversial interview, the Eskom board sat in a special meeting and it was then announced that de Ruyter would be leaving the power utility with immediate effect.
De Ruyter was initially set to leave the power utility at the end of March. He also revealed that he was planning to leave South Africa for safety reasons.