Pretoria - Despite his failure to lay criminal charges against former Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter, South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi still believes there is hope of accountability.
Saftu gave De Ruyter seven days to lay criminal charges against the two ministers he mentioned in his viral interview with television journalist Annika Larsen, where he boldly claimed that the politicians meddled in the running of the power utility.
Vavi said that De Ruyter missed the deadline they set for him, therefore forcing his trade union to approach a police station in line with the Prevention of Corruption and Corrupt Activities Act, which states that anyone in authority who is aware of illicit affairs involving more than R100 000 should report the matter to the Hawks.
The De Ruyter matter has taken centre stage in South African life amid rolling blackouts that have left the country in a constant state of uncertainty. To mitigate this, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa as Minister Responsible for Electricity in the Presidency.
This week, Vavi went to Hillbrow to lay charges against De Ruyter, only to find that a similar case was already under investigation.
“The police have been disempowered when it comes to these issues. As soon as you say ‘minister, executive of a high-flying nature in the form of Eskom’, the police say immediately say, ‘That is not in our terrain. We are not allowed to touch these cases’.
“They called the Hawks, and the Hawks came flying. It is the Hawks that gave us the case number. It is the Hawks that told us that there is a case of a similar nature that has been opened by Mmusi Maimane in Cape Town and that they are now seeing this as a singular investigation that is under way,” Vavi told a private broadcaster.
The trade unionist said he was happy that the Hawks accepted additional information that they brought to the case.
“We are quite confident from how they received us that they seem to be very serious that they are going to take up this issue,” Vavi said, adding that they were also sceptical because Saftu previously laid charges against companies that “were milking Eskom” but nothing had been done.
“Outside of one those companies bringing the money back, we didn’t get any prosecution out of those charges… In the previous case we had put in files of evidence about how people were looting at Eskom. Nothing. No arrests, no court trial. Nothing, but we still have to do what good citizens must do,” said Vavi.