Former Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter.
Outgoing Eskom chief executive, Andre de Ruyter, who has overseen South Africa’s longest period of load-shedding in more than a decade since the power crisis began, has left the troubled parastatal with immediate effect. He was expected to serve notice until the end of March after announcing his resignation at the end of last year.
De Ruyter, Eskom’s 11th CEO in more than a decade, left the organisation by “mutual agreement” after a special board meeting that was held today (February 22), the company said in a statement.
“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,” it said. Acting group chief executive arrangements are being finalised with the Pravin Gordhan-led Department of Public Enterprises.
De Ruyter’s resignation comes on the back of an explosive television interview on Tuesday evening with broadcaster, ENCA, in which he said available evidence showed that the governing ANC saw Eskom as an “eating trough.”
He admitted to failing to prevent load-shedding in the country but highlighted entrenched corruption within government and governance around Eskom. When questioned by the broadcaster about concerns around corruption, he said that he had expressed his concern to a nameless senior government minister about attempts to water down governance around the $8.5 billion in funds that is being sourced to fund the country’s transition away from fossil fuels, the Just Transition.
“The response was essentially, “you know, you have to be pragmatic – in order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit. So yes, I think it (corruption) is entrenched,” he said.
South Africa is currently in the throes of a load-shedding crisis with the country in its 115th consecutive day of power cuts. At present the country is on Stage 6 load-shedding – meaning between 8-12 hours of power cuts.
Credit rating agencies in recent weeks have warned of the impact of the prolonged electricity cuts on its ratings for the country. Fitch Ratings has forecast economic growth will average 1.1% this year.