Defend Truth


Scopa inquiry into De Ruyter’s Eskom corruption claims loading, as defence minister skirts questions on Mosi II

Scopa inquiry into De Ruyter’s Eskom corruption claims loading, as defence minister skirts questions on Mosi II
Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)

Parliament’s public spending watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, is set to call former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter over his public corruption claims as part of a broader inquiry into the state power utility.

A parliamentary inquiry into the state of Eskom is unlikely to get under way before the parliamentary Easter recess and constituency period from 31 March, but the terms of reference are expected to be finalised next week.

Potentially to appear alongside ex-Eskom CEO André de Ruyter in a Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) investigation, are the SAPS national commissioner, Lieutenant-General Fannie Masemola, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke, Eskom executives and the board, and ministers.

“I am not going to preside over a parliamentary witch-hunt,” the Scopa chairperson, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said by phone.

“Parliament, if interested in its credibility, must do everything correctly. This committee must do everything correctly.”

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Wednesday’s decision followed ANC MP Bheki Hadebe’s written request to Hlengwa for De Ruyter to appear before Scopa “to clear any ambiguities, to provide evidence on his allegations…”

De Ruyter’s claims in an interview of politicians’ links to cartels that are behind an estimated R1-billion going “missing” from Eskom, and apparent political condonation of such set the cat among the pigeons.

The ANC vowed to take legal action — late on Wednesday the Mail & Guardian reported that the governing party was preparing a summons — amid pushback over De Ruyter’s ideological attack and “rightwing leanings”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Clock ticking on ANC charges against ex-Eskom CEO as party says it can’t act on rumours 

Parliament’s public enterprises committee, which at the end of its meeting last week briefly talked of calling De Ruyter this week, seems not to have scheduled a meeting. Public enterprises committee chairperson Khaya Magaxa did not respond to a text request for an update on this. 

And so it’s Scopa that is taking steps, as it has done before with various meetings, including with the Special Investigating Unit that is investigating staff conflicts of interest, contracts and procurement violations.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Much of De Ruyter’s corruption claims not new and response to them is political posturing

Empowered by parliamentary rules

An inquiry or investigation is well within Scopa’s constitutional responsibilities as empowered by parliamentary rules, according to a legal opinion seen by Daily Maverick.

“If indeed public funds of any government department or public entity have been utilised for unauthorised purposes or in an irregular or fruitless and wasteful manner as alleged by De Ruyter, Scopa may further investigate and consider such a matter. The allegations raised concern the financial administration of a public entity and fall squarely within the oversight mandate of Scopa.

“The fact that Mr de Ruyter is no longer an employee of Eskom is not an impediment to him being asked to provide oral evidence and/or to submit records or information that support his claims.”

Later, the legal opinion added: “We advise that, for practical purposes, it may be wise to first engage with Eskom, who is the legal custodian of the financial records of Eskom and should be asked to account on steps it intends taking or has already commenced in relation to the allegations.” 

DA MP Alf Lees expressed some reservations about a full investigation and the use of taxpayers’ money. “It simply cannot be another TV show,” he said by phone. 

The proof of the pudding will be the terms of reference to be discussed and agreed on next week.

Scopa’s decision to further inquire came on Wednesday a few hours before Defence Minister Thandi Modise got a free pass on outstanding questions dating back to 1 March.

Military exercise Mosi II

The peace and stability ministerial Q&A in the House then included a prickly question from the DA on the Russian, Chinese and South African military exercise Mosi II, which coincided with the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As the Cabinet was sitting that day, Parliament was informed that deputy ministers — they are not part of the Cabinet — would do the answering. Except that Deputy Defence Minister Thabang Makwetla said he couldn’t.

“The minister is en route home from official visits abroad. It appears there were technical challenges with her travels, but [we request)] this stand over to the next day of availability of the minister in the House.”

After point of order ructions in the House, the presiding officer at the time, House Chairperson Cedric Frolick, ruled the defence minister would have to answer at the next ministerial question slot, regardless of the subject matter.

That was Wednesday. But nothing — even when DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube raised a point of order.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said a report would be provided at Thursday’s National Assembly programming committee. “The programming whip [ANC MP Mina] Lesoma will provide us with a date the questions will be responded to.”

It’s understood this approach arises from a narrow interpretation of parliamentary Rule 138. It requires the MP who asked the question to request the Speaker to reschedule it, which the Speaker “may” do after consulting with the leader of government business, traditionally the Deputy President, who acts as a liaison between the executive and Parliament.

Effectively, this allows the executive a significant say in how to answer questions, which are touted as tools for ministerial accountability.


On Wednesday the DA chief whip was unconvinced. 

“Parliament’s presiding officers continue to fail at their core function of strengthening the legislature’s arm to hold the executive to account,” Gwarube told Daily Maverick in a text message. 

“It is absolutely shocking that the minister of defence and her deputy failed to answer questions last week. Now the Speaker failed to hold the minister to account and invoke the rules to force the defence minister to answer questions after her indefensible conduct last week.” 

The kicking-to-touch action on Modise’s outstanding questions comes as Mapisa-Nqakula expressed concern over the high number of unanswered ministerial questions — and named the defence minister as the top offender.  

Twenty-seven of the 83 unanswered questions by 10 ministers are from Defence, followed by 12 from Cooperative Governance and 18 from Transport.

Mapisa-Nqakula cautioned truant ministers: “If there is no improvement, I have to intervene and reprimand the responsible Cabinet members.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    Maybe the problem with Defence is that there is none?

  • Chris 123 says:

    Name and shame.

  • Confucious Says says:

    I’m keen to sit back and watch, but I ain’t buying the popcorn from Sterkinekor!

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Mapisa-Nqakula cautioned truant ministers: “If there is no improvement, I have to intervene and reprimand the responsible Cabinet members.” Blow reprimanding these useless Ministers, kick them out and get people in who are serious about serving the tax payers and people. Modise has failed dismally on every activity she has had the misfortune to touch and as for Transport , well we all know who, the windbag of windbags who now runs the ANC.

  • Kim Eveleigh says:

    Trying to use De Ruyter as a scapegoat is not going to help anyone, least of all the people of South Africa.

  • gartmore says:


    ESKOM is just one of many of the spectacular failures that has effectively consigned our dream of an economy able to create job opportunities for all, to the trash heap adorned by the ANC party flag. Roads, Municipalities, job creation, jobs for pals … et al. The blatant deceit, the implicit sense of impunity and entitlement, has become an all-too-common feature of comrades or cadres which traitors their intended gravitas.

    The ANC’s arrogant self-adulation, and the incessant outpouring of political speak is untruthful and seeks to con the population, continuing to suffer the effects of their spectacular failure, in either delivering or effecting basic standards of service to ALL citizens of our Country. As we continue to be subjected to, and misled by the galling and sanctimonious claptrap, our individual and collective prospects as citizens will continue to plummet further, into despair and oblivion.

    Surely, we should rise in unity a call-out our politicians and their sycophantic minions for their misconduct, misappropriation, and unashamed larceny of not only resources, but with our reasonable prospects of fulfilling the elusive – better life for all.

    The nearly three decades of misrule, distrust, inaction, and voracious self-gratification may well have been learned from other countries, we though, have certainly perfected it and taken obfuscation to new depths.

    As devout South Africans across the demographic spectrum we should punish those whose habitual behaviour has literally traitored the ordinary citizens of our hard-fought democracy.

    We must unite in action against these geriatric, stale and spent political opportunists, and consign them to a place of purgatory, so that they too can feel the pain, inflicted on the hapless citizens of the RSA.

    Charlie MacGillivray

  • Rory Short says:

    Parliamentary questions are part of the democratic process. Not answering the questions undermines democracy.

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    I would honestly put money behind a class action lawsuit against the national cabinet at this point, because it seems that is the only way there will be any accountability.

  • Michael Clark says:

    Why do we actually bother with this charade of parliament, it just gives the ANC thieves and liars a facade of honesty and decorum. We could save a billion and just put a camera in Lootfreely House to see what the commies are going to steal next.

  • L Dennis says:

    I trust Mr. De Ruyter has a video conference court case. But this sounds more like cheap politicking.
    Why was there no action taken immediately when alarms were raised?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options