Eskom CEO André de Ruyter will depart as CEO of Eskom with immediate effect after he slammed the ANC and its “embarrassing”, Soviet-era ideology in a media interview.
The state-owned utility said in a tersely worded statement late on Wednesday evening that “following the convening of a special board meeting on 22 February, the Eskom board and group CEO André de Ruyter have reached mutual agreement to curtail his notice period to 28 February”.
“The board further resolved that Mr de Ruyter will not be required to serve the balance of his notice period but that he will be released from his position with immediate effect.”
His axing – he had been expected to leave at the end of March – comes after an interview with broadcaster e.tv’s Anika Larsen in which he said he thought Eskom was a “feeding trough” for the ANC.
Without naming anyone, De Ruyter said: “I expressed my concern to a senior government minister about attempts, in my view, to water down governance around the US$8.5-billion that, by and large to Eskom’s intervention, we got at Cop26, and the response was essentially that you must be pragmatic. In order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit.”
According to a report by TimesLive, when asked what happened when he reported his concerns and the ongoing criminal activity at Eskom, De Ruyter said: “So, when we pointed out that there was one particular high-level politician that was involved in this, the minister in question looked at a senior official and said, ‘I guess it was inevitable that it would come out anyways.’”
To De Ruyter, this suggested that “was not news” to them, the report said.
In the same interview, De Ruyter – who has repeatedly expressed a pro-free market view about the liberalisation of South Africa’s energy sector, said of ANC politicians: “They still address one another [at Luthuli House] as ‘comrade’, which is frankly embarrassing. They use words like ‘lumpen proletariat’, which is ridiculous, because these things were last said in 1980s East Germany.”
Eskom said arrangements are being made with the shareholder minister (Gordhan) to appoint an acting group CEO to replace De Ruyter and the outcome will be “communicated shortly”.
Gordhan earlier on Wednesday launched an attack on De Ruyter over his interview with e.tv, accusing him of “meddling” in politics instead of focusing on running Eskom and ending load shedding. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media