De Ruyter says position became untenable as Gordhan vows to deal with Eskom ‘termites’

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.

Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images via Getty Images

  • Minister Pravin Gordhan says programs started under André de Ruyter’s leadership will not be interrupted when he leaves the power company.
  • The minister implored Eskom workers to continue to fight corruption that is undermining efforts to limit discharge.
  • Gordhan also expressed gratitude to De Ruyter, who he felt had to step away from his untenable position.
  • For more financial news, go to News24 company front page.

While pledging to continue outgoing CEO André de Ruyter’s efforts to fight corruption, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has implored Eskom workers not to accept bribes and to speak out against the corruption that is undermining it efforts to limit the download.

The minister was speaking at a press conference about De Ruyter’s resignation. Gordhan assured that programs started under De Ruyter’s watch will continue, including cleaning up corruption. Eskom was one of the main scenarios where the state capture project took place. Corruption continues to affect the entity.

Gordhan cited recent reports that multinational engineering firm ABB paid more than R2.5 billion to South Africa for bribery it took part in to secure contracts for the construction of Kusile.

Gordhan said there are still “termites” within Eskom, but law enforcement agencies would identify them and ensure they end up in orange uniforms at a much faster rate than is currently happening.

Both Gordhan and board chairman Mpho Makwana praised De Ruyter’s professionalism in running the power company.

De Ruyter told the media it was a privilege to lead Eskom, but he felt his position had become untenable.

News24 previously reported that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe accused Eskom of “actively agitating for the overthrow of the state” by failing to deal with the discharge. Mantashe has also openly criticized whether De Ruyter is the best person to lead Eskom, questioning his skills and experience.

Gordhan defended De Ruyter against Mantashe’s accusations:

“In relation to the overthrow of the State [comment] i [whether De Ruyter is a] traitor, the emphatic answer is no. I won’t rate it in any way. Whatever comment can be made about an individual, it is absolutely unfair and unnecessary to use this kind of language for someone who did everything possible to get Eskom out of the mess it was in. People in the know know that the mess didn’t start in 2019… or 2012. It started a long time ago and there’s a long list of people who need to be held accountable for decisions they didn’t make the right way “

“Given recent media reports, unfortunately, I am currently in a position where I do not consider this position to be sustainable,” De Ruyter said. De Ruyter said his position required the support of “the wider political economy”. This support is also critical to “enabling Eskom’s success”, he said.

“Accordingly, I have decided to take a step back to offer the shareholder and the board the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the role of group CEO who may be better suited and better equipped for the strategic and operational objectives at hand “.

Gordhan warned employees not to accept bribes or “hand-offs” from people. Most recently, a worker for a contractor doing maintenance at an Eskom power station was arrested for sabotage. The worker was told that there would be maintenance and repair work if he performed the task.

He called on Eskom employees to remain committed to serving South Africans rather than their pockets.

Now is the time to fight corruption, now is the time to support South Africa as a country and now is the time to recognize that we work for the 60 million people of South Africa, not just ourselves nor for us. only for our pockets.

– The Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan

Other programs that will continue include the legal separation of the transmission entity and the appointment of its board, which should have the right mix of skills, Gordhan said. Eskom would also continue to address load shedding by supporting the addition of new generation capacity to the grid, be it in the form of solar, wind, batteries, pumped storage and even gas.

Details of Eskom’s debt resolution, with the state assuming a large part, will also be announced in the next budget in February 2023. Gordhan assured lenders that their money is safe and they can contact both with the council and with your ministry to raise any doubts you may have.

Gordhan also assured that Eskom and the country remained committed to a just transition and plans to repurpose old coal-fired power stations such as Komati with renewable energy will continue.

De Ruyter’s notice period is two months, but he will stay until March 2023 to ensure there is a handover to his successor.

READ | De Ruyter exit: Concern over energy transition, $8.5 billion pledges from rich countries

Asked about Mantashe’s comments, Makwana dodged the question and said it is not in his “competence” to determine whether or not De Ruyter is a traitor. Meanwhile, Gordhan said the answer is a resounding no. “Gordhan said it is ‘unfair and unfair’ that those words are used to describe De Ruyter, who had done everything possible to get Eskom out of a mess.

Gordhan noted that South Africans are rightly frustrated with load shedding, but the crisis began many years ago, before De Ruyter joined the company.

“There’s a long list of people who are being held accountable for decisions that they didn’t make the right way,” he said.

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