/ 18 May 2023

‘Trust was broken’: Eskom chair on André de Ruyter’s book

Mpho Makwana
Eskom board chair Mpho Makwana has resigned. (F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana has denounced former chief executive André de Ruyter’s decision to break confidentiality when he wrote his new tell-all book, giving his insider’s view of alleged corruption at the power utility.

“It must be noted and placed on record that trust was broken by him making those public statements in the publication of the book,” Makwana said during a briefing on Thursday morning. “And this trust was broken in the most repulsive manner possible.” 

De Ruyter’s book, Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom, was officially released over the weekend and gives his account of the alleged corruption at the utility, which is at the heart of the country’s deleterious energy crisis. 

During Eskom’s state of the system briefing on Thursday, Makwana and his colleagues warned of what will be a tough winter, because severe load-shedding looks to continue. The blackouts are set to cost South Africa’s economy dearly, shaving as much as two percentage points from GDP growth in 2023.

On Wednesday, during a briefing of parliament’s standing committee on public accounts, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan suggested that the problems at Eskom were a result of a second phase of state capture gripping the country.

On Thursday, Makwana said transgressions were made during the publication of De Ruyter’s book.

“The transgressions were carried out by an executive with a fiduciary position in possession of proprietary information of a national key point, who himself evaded being vetted through processes which involve our national security services agencies.”

According to Makwana, De Ruyter breached the Protection of Personal Information Act, various aspects of an executive director’s duties as defined in the Companies Act, the Public Finance Management Act and confidentiality clauses in his own contract of employment.

Eskom’s corporate governance teams are reviewing these alleged transgressions, Makwana said, and will take appropriate steps to ensure that the utility’s board acts accordingly.

The board will also be embarking on an independent investigation to test the veracity of the allegations, he said.