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Since taking over the reins at the embattled state-owned entity, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has managed to pay back over R90bn, reducing Eskom’s debt from R496bn to R401bn in just 18 months. Having just been cleared of racism charges laid against him by former chief procurement officer at Eskom, Solly Tshitangano, De Ruyter is in the headlines again – this time because of death threats he’s received from those who oppose his current bid to clean up corruption at Eskom. This article was first published on MyBroadband. – Claire Badenhorst
Death threats against Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter has been facing death threats and unfounded allegations after starting a clean-up operation at the power utility.
This was revealed in a News24 interview where he discussed his work to turn around the company which has been gutted by corruption and mismanagement. The interview took place less than two weeks after senior counsel Ishmael Semenya found that allegations against De Ruyter were without substance.
The allegations — made by former Eskom chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano — included abuse of power, racial discrimination, poor governance, irregular recruitment, irregular staff appointments, and unlawful procurement. Tshitangano was dismissed for gross misconduct and breach of duties and responsibilities, among other charges.
Commenting on the allegations and death threats against him, De Ruyter said it has a momentary impact.
“But then, what ultimately motivates me is to prove my detractors and critics wrong — and then I carry on,” he told News24.
The death threats and false allegations against De Ruyter should not come as a surprise. Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said there is a “huge fightback from the elements that are responsible for the poor state of affairs at Eskom”. He said the criminals who have looted Eskom and the South African economy are not “going to give up lightly the privilege they have enjoyed over the years”. Billions in fraud and corruption have taken place in South Africa, and a lot of it has happened at Eskom.
“The [corrupt] people are still around, and they are still in positions of power within Eskom… and in the government and business,” Mantshantsha said. What is happening at Eskom now, under Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, is a clean-up operation that many people are not happy about. “So, you will have these allegations and complaints about him,” Mantshantsha said. “We regard it as a fightback from the people who have been benefitting from the collapse of Eskom and the total collapse of governance over the years.”
The good news, he said, is that a lot has been achieved at Eskom to clean up the rot and corruption. The current management team and board are dedicated to fighting corruption and mismanagement at the power utility.
“When we learn about wrongdoing on the part of people working at Eskom or its suppliers, we investigate and do what should be done,” he said. He added that there are also key people in the government who are looking after the interests of the country in terms of good governance. “Those people are facing the same kinds of pressures which we have seen with Andre de Ruyter,” he said.
MyBroadband asked Eskom for details about the threats against De Ruyter, but Mantshantsha said they have “no further comment on this matter”.
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