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Racist CEO? Eskom launches probe to find out

Power utility launches investigation into charges levelled by suspended employee.
Andre de Ruyter has been accused of ‘spearheading irregularities’. Image: Moneyweb

Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter, along with ‘any person that may be of assistance’, will feature in an internal inquiry into allegations of racism levelled against him.

This follows parliament’s public finance watchdog, the Standing Committee On Public Accounts (Scopa), earlier this month announcing its intention to launch a probe into impropriety by De Ruyter. 

Eskom had previously dismissed the allegations, saying in a statement the allegations and “unwarranted attacks on Eskom’s management team” could distract the power utility’s management from restoring Eskom to financial stability and operational effectiveness.

Read: Allegations, accusations and disinformation – just what Eskom doesn’t need

On Tuesday however Eskom announced that it would be probing the allegations of racism “in order to establish the veracity and the basis to the allegation”.

The inquiry will be chaired by an independent senior counsel who will be given the powers to “interview any person that may be of assistance in the probe, and consider any evidence, and will then report back to the board and make recommendations”.

Various allegations made

The allegations stem from various correspondences sent to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, the department’s director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi and Eskom board interim chair Professor Malegapuru Makgoba between January and March.

In the various letters, suspended Eskom chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano accuses De Ruyter of spearheading irregularities related to recruitment, performance management, procurement and governance processes at Eskom.

In a letter to Gordhan dated January 22, Tshitangano accuses De Ruyter and Eskom’s head of legal and compliance Nerina Otto of undermining “good corporate governance under the pretence that they want to protect the interests of Eskom”.

De Ruyter accused of acting as accounting officer

Tshitangano, who was placed on precautionary suspension in February for poor performance, sent a follow-up letter to Tlhakudi and Scopa at the beginning of March accusing De Ruyter of acting as the power utility’s accounting officer and group chief executive simultaneously. 

“There is no way that Eskom will maintain an effective, efficient, and transparent systems of financial and risk management and internal control if Andre de Ruyter can assign powers and duties to himself,” Tshitangano says. 

De Ruyter was appointed as the power utility’s chief executive in November 2019. Tshitangano’s letter to Scopa alleges that the Eskom board was made aware of the alleged impropriety by De Ruyter as far back as February 2020.

Read:

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told Moneyweb on Tuesday that when Makgoba received a letter from Gordhan last year requesting him to intervene in the matter, Makgoba “spoke” to all concerned and was under the impression that the matter has been resolved. 

“A year later it turns out it had not been resolved, if Tshitangano’s letter is anything to go by,” said Mantshantsha. “That’s why the board has decided to do the investigation, and give everyone the opportunity to bring the matter to a close.”

Although not mentioned in Eskom’s statement on Tuesday, Mantshantsha said the charge of racism against De Ruyter includes allegations of irregular recruitment, procurement and governance practices at Eskom.

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This the new norm around, the race card.

Yes, the race card, normally from sneaky people, that want to hide/ prevent something from being made public. Or even to distract people from real issues

If you buy a mop for R235k, you will be noticed. Sorry pal.

on the upside, the R235 K included VAT I understand.

But if you are black you should not be noticed. That is racism.

Screaming racism is standard procedure for any cadre who gets caught out.

More letter send.. Send those letter and fhey won’t be answered.

Everybody is sending everybody letters these days.

The chairman thought that it was resolved. Well let the senior counsel cross examine him and our Jamnadas who has gone oh so quiet.

Bigger picture though this is exactly what the country does not need now. Our biggest single obstacle to growth i.e. Eskom in the middle of all things a public racism probe.

Mr de Ruyter is now under more pressure and has a clearly ineffective chairman and invisible minister chanting the internationale. How long before he says I cannot work with people of this quality?

Jamnadas is quiet because he has other matters to hide. Like the A340 that was sent empty to Brussels with under qualified pilots to fetch a vaccine that is about to expire and is not really for our strain. Only cost R5bar, so he is a little under the radar now.

He has a cadre lined up to replace Andre but is using Solly to get rid of him.

Unfortunately useless staff members abuse company tip off lines to get revenge for having their own incompetency’s dealt with, as it is iro the CEO, this gets escalated to the totally inept and incompetent board. Let’s not comment on what boards competence looks like in SA. The race card gets played beautifully by current social and ethics committees. Nauseating.

I do not know why Mr. Ruyter bothered joining Eskom.
It is unfixable, close it down.

The corruption is winning again. Corruption is too big to fix.

Do what China does when handling corruption.

I could have told Mr De Ruyter for free, that it was better for him not to take the Eskom job. The only thing at risk for taking that job is the CEO’s reputation. The Eskom business itself is a circus of note, hence even 17 black CEO candidates before him refused the job.

How SA still has electricity is a miracle.

Odd, a clever man would involve him with that cesspool job, certainly he had other options? or patriotism?

But broaden that statement.. “I could have told all white business and farmers staying “patriotically” in Zim after independence..”

When the majority feels it is ok to pay R80000 for a R80 knee pad as part of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment or BBBEE, there is something seriously wrong as this is not sustainable in any economy. This is rather Broad Based Black Economic
Enpoverishment.

If he stands up to these allegations and is found to be innocent and continues as CEO, he has my utmost respect! Imagine the pressure he is under, with all those below him, hands in their back pockets always eager and ready to pull that race-card. Because us plain palefaces can’t say boo or bah without having the race card thrown in our faces, now imagine being the top and only paleface? Sho dude you have your job cutout for you man, good luck!

meet your KPI’s Solly, it’s part of being employed and earning a big salary, we just want the lights on we don’t care about your skin colour.

I wonder if de Ruyter looked at a cadre in a colonial tone?

End of comments.

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