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ESKOM CRISIS

‘Everyone knew about the intelligence files’ — André De Ruyter rebuts Hawks boss

‘Everyone knew about the intelligence files’ — André De Ruyter rebuts Hawks boss
Former CEO of Eskom André de Ruyter. (Photo: Freddy Mavunda / Business Day)

In text messages shared with Daily Maverick on 9 May, the same day that General Godfrey Lebeya of the Hawks told Parliament that the former Eskom CEO was in breach of his fiduciary duties, André de Ruyter provided his version of events. According to the texts, not only were the SAPS and the Hawks provided with the information in the intelligence files, but so were the State Security Agency, NatJoints, the Eskom board, Pravin Gordhan, Sydney Mufamadi and ‘apparently’ President Cyril Ramaphosa.

‘Given the broad spectrum and large scale of malfeasance, I have taken a number of steps regarding the  alleged corruption, to report and cause same to be reported to law enforcement authorities and government officials on the highest level.”

These were the words of former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, shared via text messages with Daily Maverick on the afternoon of 9 May.

De Ruyter was responding in the main to the statement of Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya, who had just given testimony before the parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the relevant authorities had not been informed in due course.

According to Lebeya, De Ruyter had only provided a report to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) on 25 April 2023, the day before the former CEO himself had testified before Scopa.

If true, given that De Ruyter had formally left the power utility on 28 February — after an explosive interview on eNCA had resulted in the curtailment of his notice period — this would have placed him in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca), which requires a public official to report evidence of corruption that involves amounts greater than R100,000.

De Ruyter explained to Daily Maverick, however, that it was “incorrect” that he did not fulfil his duties under the act.

“[The steps I took] include a meeting held on Saturday 4 June 2022 at Megawatt Park with senior police officials,” he informed us, “including the National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, and representatives of the State Security Agency, where I requested the assistance of both SAPS and SSA to investigate corruption at Eskom, and to assist Eskom in combating crime.  

“Following this meeting, a police brigadier (whose identity I leave to SAPS to disclose for reasons of security) was designated by General Masemola to be the liaison with the intelligence operation. This officer has had full access to all of the intelligence gathered and has stated to me that he has kept his line command informed.”

While De Ruyter would not disclose the identity of the brigadier to us, it emerged during the Scopa hearings that it was a certain “Brigadier Burger”, and that he had indeed been in possession of the cited private sector intelligence files since the winter of 2022.

To back up his allegation that the Hawks had been informed of the intelligence reports too, De Ruyter provided us with the following statement:

“Additionally, since changes were made to the management of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, similar exchanges have been held with senior commanders in the province, and I am informed that all applicable information has been put at their disposal.”

The ‘sharing of information’

Significantly, during the Scopa hearings, which included representations from top-level members of the South African Police Service, the Special Investigating Unit and the Hawks, questions were asked by MPs about the “sharing of information” between divisions of the security establishment.

The explicit challenge put to the various commanders was how, in a matter as critical as the existence of criminal syndicates within Eskom — which none of the commanders denied — some were admitting possession of the intelligence files while others were not.

But, according to De Ruyter, it wasn’t just members of the security cluster with whom he had shared information from the files.

“I also reported the matter to the then Interim Chair of Eskom Holdings SOC, Prof Malegapuru Makgoba,” he told Daily Maverick. “I [later] informed the new board of Eskom of the intelligence operation at a meeting held at the Eskom Academy of Learning in November 2022.”

As for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, scheduled to appear before Scopa on 17 May, and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national security adviser, Sydney Mufamadi, who will appear on 23 May, De Ruyter was unequivocal about the timing of his initial engagements.

“Furthermore, on 5 July 2022, I attended a meeting with the [National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, NatJoints] at the SAPS College in Pretoria, where I shared high-level concerns about corruption and theft in Eskom with the National Police Commissioner and his staff and offered to make available the intelligence to designated individuals.

“On the same date, I reported the findings to the shareholder representative, Minister Pravin Gordhan, and to the National Security Adviser, Dr Sydney Mufamadi. The main findings were shared with the latter two officials.”

Back in February, Gordhan confirmed to local media that De Ruyter had briefed him on some of the contents of the intelligence files — specifically, the allegation that Cabinet members were implicated — but that he had dismissed these as “allusions”.

Although De Ruyter informed us that he “does not know” whether Gordhan and Mufamadi “reported this to their principals,” he referred us to Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address of February 2023, where the following was stated:

“The South African Police Service (SAPS) has established a dedicated team with senior leadership to deal with the pervasive corruption and theft at several power stations that has contributed to the poor performance of these stations. Intelligence-driven operations at Eskom-related sites have so far resulted in 43 arrests.”

The conclusion that De Ruyter drew from Ramaphosa’s address, as conveyed to Daily Maverick, was this:

“The fact that these arrests have taken place, and that a dedicated team has been established, is corroborative evidence that intelligence related to alleged corruption has been shared with law enforcement authorities and that they are acting on it.”

Finally, De Ruyter referred us to section 34 of Precca, which is clear in its legislative intent.

“(1) Any person who holds a position of authority and who knows or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that any other person has committed —

(a) an offence under Part 1, 2, 3 or 4 or section 20 or 21 ( in so far as it relates to the aforementioned offences) of Chapter 2; or

(b) the offence of theft, fraud, extortion, forgery or uttering a forged document, involving an amount of R100,000 or more, must report such knowledge or suspicion or cause such knowledge or suspicion to be reported to any police official.”

His concluding comments, again in relation to the allegations of General Lebeya, were a reiteration of his belief that he had fulfilled his fiduciary duties.

“If you then refer to the regulations under the SAPS Act, a separate office is created for reporting,” De Ruyter noted. “I would argue that the National Police Commissioner and his delegated officers meet the definition of ‘any police official’.

“The fact that I sent a report to the Hawks to comply with the Regulation is a formality. Also note that S34 does not impose a time limit for reporting.” DM

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  • Bryan Macpherson says:

    Perhaps the real crimes lie within the ANC, Government and the police services. They were fully briefed but chose not to act – as evidenced by Gordhans “allusions” comment. As for the police service – failed memories are just a part of their DNA.

    • Gill Bowman says:

      Making generalizations does not help. We need researched or experienced incidents of proof where this is true to help begin to expose the rot to the African sun.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Once again we see that, within the ANC hierarchy, the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing, mainly because both hands are in the taxpayers pot desperately trying to grab as much as they can!

    • Jacki McInnes says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself! To say nothing of the ANC’s perfection of the arts of lying, obfuscation and shooting the messenger

    • Alan Watkins says:

      Its worse than that. Think of the ANC as similar to the multiarmed statue of Bhudda. Two of the pairs of arms are over eyes and ears, one over the mouth, one up the nose trying to change their mind manually.. and yes the last two pairs in the taxpayer pot trying to grab as much as they can

    • Mike Waghorn says:

      🤣🤣🤣

  • Peter Vos says:

    The squirming cadres attempts to scapegoat the white knight in a tangle of lies will nevertheless continue unabated

  • Trenton Carr says:

    Seems like a whole bunch of complicit numbnuts are about to trip on the truth.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Come on ANC and SAPS – stop embarrassing yourselves trying to defend the indefensible.

    You really just look stupid.

    Show this country that you can at least spell the word “honour”:
    1. acknowledge that you’ve screwed up hard
    2. Show us how you intend to fix it – and I mean really fix it, not just the usual empty babble

    • Teresa K says:

      Ummmm no – they need to resign, then be charged for failing in their duties, and thus being complicit in the thievery, and they need to be replaced by competent, qualified people who can do the job at hand. It is mind blowing that we still sit with a National Police Commissioner that has NO security clearance – essentially an illegal appointment – and nothing has come of this.

    • Teresa K says:

      As for Gordhan…I will reserve my commentary as it probably isn’t appropriate on this forum. From seemingly good ethical guy and straight arrow, to less than zero. I guess that was all an ‘allusion’ too.

    • johanw773 says:

      The ANC cannot help to solve this country’s problems, because they ARE the problem!

      • John Counihan says:

        In essence, this is it! And these ANC half-wits are crossing swords with Andre de Ruyter, a man of superb intellect who will talk rings around them. Sad thing, though, is that they don’t care if they lose arguments, lose face etc. They still hold the reigns, and run RS of A into the ground with impunity.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    I know who I believe here. The ANC and their planted minions have every reason to lie and throw dust in our eyes not to mention a long history of being economical of the truth. De Ruyter like the other whistleblowers fears for his life and speaks out to do his duty by the country. They in contrast live protected lives and must lie in their teeth to hide their crimes and loot from the law.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    But what about ” no stone will be left unturned” and ” the full might of the law” we always hear about.

    • Peter Wanliss says:

      It’s all in the semantics. Stones can be turned on the horizontal plane, leaving hidden what is underneath, and “the full might of the law” should be read in the context of “the law” having very little might.

    • Michael Jones says:

      That only applies to other people and parties.

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    Once again we see the ANC-led law enforcement establishment using double-speak to hide their own incompetence: in other words, trying to turn the blame on to de Ruyter with a string of lies

  • Wilhelm Boshoff says:

    The public should rally behind De Ruyter and not allow him to be scapegoated.

  • shannon Maxwell says:

    I once used to think highly of Pravin Gordhan, and felt sorry for him over the “rogue unit at SARS” attack, but he proves he is no better than the rest of them. I initially had great hopes for the success of this country when Cyril Ramaphosa took over from the scourge that was Zuma, but he also has disappointed hugely with his apathetic responses to everything. Is there no-one, not ONE politician with guts, integrity and honesty, who can lead this country out of the disaster it has become?

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Definitely not from the anc/eff. They’re all crooks, who have no idea what either integrity nor honesty not moral means.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    My dismay is with former “trusted” parties in Government – ““On the same date, I reported the findings to the shareholder representative, Minister Pravin Gordhan, and to the National Security Adviser, Dr Sydney Mufamadi. The main findings were shared with the latter two officials.” They are all tarred with the same brush.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    I’m sorry to say it, but given that the ANC hasn’t been honest with the public for the best part of 20 years, I wouldn’t believe anything that their appointees say. Denial, cover up, recrimination, race card, and scapegoating (and sometimes killing the whistleblower) is their modus operandi. We have no reason to disbelieve De Ruyter at this stage – but we have more than two decades of evidence to disbelieve the ANC and their structures.

  • barriesmith63 says:

    Very telling that the police (and, dare I say, others including Gordhan and “promises Pete” the President) are focusing so much on detail such as dates of when de Ruyter reported his concerns, whether it was a briefing or “allusions”, and whether “t”s and “i”s were crossed and dotted, than on the actual content of what was reported. Not so surprising really I suppose, if such people are determined to look the other way.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    Jovially I refer to the You Tube clip “It wasn’t me, The Guptas sing” Google it for a good laugh again to see nothing has changed.
    Pravin just caught me, stashing all the cash offshore.
    How could I forget that he is slippery and slinky
    If courts say night convince them its day
    Never admit to a word they say
    But the cash was on the counter, wasn’t me
    Thats why I hid it in the sofa, wasn’t me.

    Oh if I had only remembered the sofa when Phal Phala surfaced.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    I can’t help but remember Gwede’s comments about ADR needing to stop being a Policeman!
    I also can’t help but remember one particular political commentator (though I forget whom) describing Gwede as the ‘most powerful person in the ANC’
    I also seem to recall JJ Tabane on some or other news platform inviting viewers to opine who they thought ADR was referencing when he suggested that one or more Cabinet Ministers might be behind the Cartels & Gwede was (apparently) a popular choice!
    It then confuses me – & I know a lot is hearsay & we thrive on conspiracy theories – why the ANC is hellbent on serving papers on ADR & not doing a deep dive audit into the business interests of Ministers & their families? It’s not as if this information is confidential it’s publicly accessible!

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. That one may smile and smile and be a villain. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” Hamlet!

  • Hilton Trollip says:

    Minister Mantashe said around 29 Nov 2022 that de Ruyter was acting like a policeman. De Ruyter was obliged to report this malfeasance in terms of Precca. Around 15 December Mantashe upped his attack to effectively accusing de Ruyter of treason, making de Ruyter’s job impossible. I hope our democratic parliament pursues this and continues where the follow up on the Eskom Enquiry seems to have stalled. All circumstantial indications point to collusion at the highest level to protect corruption: State Capture 2.0

  • Johan Buys says:

    what do ordinary decent members of the ANC make of this and the other corruption, incompetence, and lying in government?

    I refuse to believe that everybody in the ANC is crooked and incompetent. Why do the decent people not take back their party?

    Will the churches finally stand up again and tell their flock that they cannot be faithful and vote for the ANC? They can’t tell them who to vote for, but they can call on them not to vote for corrupt parties like the ANC and EFF.

  • Peter Worman says:

    Like the Guptas this theft will go unpunished and will probably be the title of a book in due course to follow the dozens of other that have detailed the grand larceny that has been taking place since the arms deal

  • rmrobinson says:

    Is anything more revealing than the ANC/African response to the Eskom crisis? Desperate measures are employed to discredit AdR. I wait in vain for the identification of erroneous facts disclosed by him. Until and unless the ANC/African rulership take responsibility for the destruction of Eskom, there is no hope for South Africa.

  • R S says:

    As expected, De Ruyter has receipts.

  • Geoff Woodruff says:

    Pravin Gordhan was once a model of how a minister should behave and his handling of Jacob Zuma was most impressive. I ask myself today ” whatever has happened to this man?” The paragon of virtue has become as bad as the rest of the rotten bunch. You sleep with dogs and you’ll get fleas. He must be itching terribly.

  • Nigel Ipp says:

    Strength and Respect to you Mr de Ruyter – I totally believe in your Integrity and am shocked to the core by the absolute absence of a semblance of trustworthiness of the ‘Word’ of the ANC. After years of giving individuals the benefit of the doubt, I can only see them now as ethically and morally bankrupt. They are decrepid individuals who have one by one fallen prey to greed and ego, power and fear and have robbed the core values of the organisation, turning it rotten, inside out.

  • Neil Parker says:

    I think we need to be angry. Very, very angry indeed about the shoddy treatment being meted out to de Ruyter. About the attempts to somehow make him the single scapegoat for Eskom’s woes. About the attempt on his life. About the ludicrous accusations that he was “attempting to overthrow the state” not to mention supporting “an agenda of renewables” as if that were some kind of particularly heinous crime. This is a man, an honest man who took on a really tough assignment as a service to his country. Who did his level best to deal with corruption within Eskom. Who reported the malfeasance to numerous branches of the security services as well as senior politicians. And yet we have this ANC riff raff putting out statements such as “we’re going to smoke him out” or – more recently – expressing regret that SAPS had not been able to “track him down”. As if he were a common criminal. As if he left the country as a fugitive rather than as someone whose life was under threat. Those who need to be “smoked out” and “tracked down” are the worms within the woodwork of the ANC. We need Eagles within the Hawks , not chickens. Lebeya should prioritize tracking down those responsible for the attempted assassination on de Ruyter. And even more so those responsible for the actual assassination of Babita Deocoran. We should not nor shall not ever forget until those responsible – however highly placed they may be – are behind bars.

    • mikejreddell says:

      I couldn’t agree more, but exactly who is going to track these thugs down, who is going to put them behind bars and who is going to keep them behind bars…. The rot is embedded in the core and there’s nobody to “smoke” them out….. 😬

  • David Crossley says:

    No question that Andre de Ruiter is being truthful and the ANC is obfuscating – if they had just let him manage Eskom without interfering and casting untrue assertions, I believe that he would have resolved the load shedding in time. What a disgrace!

  • Margaret Harris says:

    “Allusions.” Interesting that a subject of such national importance should merit only a passing reference, more interesting is the fact that it did not cause every instinct the listener possesses to insist on more information.
    Meanwhile all the usual subjects are sitting on their hands, oblivious to the fact that Rome is burning and totally uncaring that, while they will be able to escape, the poor, the working and middle classes will be left to survive as best they can amidst the wreckage they have left in their wake.

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    Well done Daily Maverick on publishing this excellent report by Kevin Bloom. I have seldom seen so many comments – a reflection of the fury of SA’s.

  • Ernest Esterhuizen says:

    These so-called bottomless “top” officials are simply playing stupid. Their convictions will eat them up. Their conscience is full of the theft, corruption and dishonesty – it is all written on the tablets of their hearts. As for Gordhan .. the one who told the nation .. connect the dots … in the meantime he is ONE OF THE DOTS .. trying to divert attention away from him. How are they allowed to treat the findings into corruption with such disdain? Why aren’t they subjected to lie detectors and cross-examination? Probably because their leader is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

  • Gill Bowman says:

    I am exceedingly saddened by the person I held in high esteem, Pravin Gordon, seemingly plunging into the depths of the ANC’s muddy terrain. I do not see them as a bunch of half-wits, but rather very intelligent people who have had their morals and talents turned to greed, and then know how to reach into the trough seemingly immune from critique and law. And if they resign, at this point they will be replaced by similar ANC intelligentsia who will take their place at the trough. The trough is poisoned with untold greed, and until it is out of reach it will continue to be ravaged by that greed. I think there may be many others who are waiting in line for their turn, while they feed at the lesser troughs of Provincial and Municipal coffers. This poison seems to go down to the roots of the ANC, and while there are some who have bravely and commendable kept their stance on their unwillingness to partake of the poisoned cup, they seem to be ineffectual rooting out this poisoned tree.
    We have to question ourselves whether given the opportunity to feast on untold riches, whether we would find our own corrupt nature (it starts small, taking paperclips home from the office, to later keeping laptops when they should have been handed back because we think we deserve them.) We need to all face this in ourselves and make every effort to turn away from this other side of our nature, and then begin to use our recignised tainted good to turn the tide wherever we are and serve.

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