South Africa


George Fivaz’s Eskom ‘dirty’ dossier gets clean bill of health in expert legal opinion

George Fivaz’s Eskom ‘dirty’ dossier gets clean bill of health in expert legal opinion

On 26 April, author and journalist Jacques Pauw published a series of articles in News24 that dismissed private intelligence reports on the Eskom crime cartels as ‘outlandish conspiracy theories’. On 1 June, a practising advocate, former police superintendent and author of key textbooks for the SA Police Service (SAPS) released a legal opinion that concluded the opposite. So, what will the security cluster do about it now?


“In light of the above, it is concluded that the intelligence reports compiled by GFFR [George Fivaz Forensic & Risk] constitute a critical first step and forceful springboard from which investigations into the undoubted criminalities at Eskom can and should be launched.” 

With this sentence, the final paragraph of an expert legal opinion drawn up by Advocate Cerita Joubert, the controversy that almost resulted in the closure of George Fivaz Forensic & Risk was arguably put to bed. 

Joubert, a former police officer with numerous commendations who was promoted to the rank of superintendent in 1997, was chosen by Fivaz for obvious reasons — not least of which was her election to the position of vice-president of the National Forum of Advocates in 2010. 

Perhaps more significant, though, was the fact that Joubert had lectured and published extensively on the methodologies of police work, having acted as the editor and main author on all five editions of a core South African Police Service training manual, Applied Law for Police Officials

In this context, given that her latest police textbook was published in 2023, Joubert’s assessment of the “value” of the intelligence reports was always going to count as authoritative. 

What Daily Maverick did not anticipate, however, was the tone of urgency in her conclusions.   

“The prevalence of organised crime and corruption at Eskom [is] confirmed in the majority of the reports compiled by GFFR as well as in countless other investigative reports relating to Eskom from other private sources, notably investigative journalists,” she stated.  

“Since these crimes pose immense challenges to any investigation, the creation of multidisciplinary investigative task and project teams, which include private intelligence entities, may greatly assist in order to ensure successful prosecution.”

As Daily Maverick had been aware since early May, Fivaz had approached Joubert after the publication by News24 of a series of “exposés” under the all-caps title “ESKOM DIRTY DOSSIER”. Written by author and journalist Jacques Pauw, these articles — according to Fivaz himself — had inflicted fatal damage on the private intelligence-gathering operation, forcing the operatives to retreat from their positions or face the very real prospect of assassination. 

On the front lines was Tony Oosthuizen, a former agent of the apartheid state who had crossed over into the intelligence services of President Nelson Mandela before leaving for the private sector. By focusing on Oosthuizen’s past, as Fivaz told Daily Maverick, Pauw had “conveniently ignored” the fact that he was “just one of six handlers” that GFFR had contracted to run the operation.  

‘Their lives are at risk’

“These six handlers, Tony included, were running a total of more than 40 agents in the field,” Fivaz repeated — a detail that Daily Maverick had long known first-hand, given that we had been working on the Eskom intelligence files since December 2022. 

“The irony is that the vast majority of these agents, I’d say around 70%, were non-white. Now all of their lives are at risk.” 

Pauw’s contention in the first of his articles, published under the headline “Revealed: Apartheid spook behind De Ruyter’s R50m off-the-books Project Ostrich”, was in direct opposition not only to what Daily Maverick understood but also to what Joubert would conclude.   

Referring to former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, and thereby implicating him by association in allegations of racism, Pauw opened with the following:  

“News24 can reveal the so-called Eskom ‘intelligence’ files or reports made famous by De Ruyter in a tell-all interview in February were concocted by Tony Oosthuizen, a key member of an apartheid-era secret Military Intelligence unit, and are effectively worthless.” 

Published on 26 April, the same morning that De Ruyter was due to appear before the parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), both Pauw and News24 editor Adriaan Basson drew only a smattering of criticism in the Afrikaans press for the timing of their “exposé”.  

Intelligence-led policing 

Alluding perhaps to the fact that Pauw had somewhat walked back on his initial rubbishing of GFFR’s reports, in an article published on 15 May that recast the contents of the files as “information” if not quite “intelligence,” Joubert included the second category as well.  

Quoting from the Criminal Intelligence Manual for Analysts published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), she wrote: 

“Information is quite simply raw data of any type, whilst in contrast intelligence is data which has been worked on, given added value or significance.” 

By Joubert’s expert assessment, the 348 “agent information reports” that had been solicited from sources inside Eskom’s power stations were in the first category, while the 12 “monthly analysis reports” were firmly in the second.  

Also, in an effort to place GFFR’s work within the context of actual policing as opposed to single-source journalism, Joubert cited the “Intelligence-Led Policing” model, or ILP. 

“The ILP was first adopted throughout the United Kingdom (UK) in the early 2000s,” she noted, “and has since become the preferred model of policing in many countries, including the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since the ILP is built around pro-active risk assessment and risk management, it has been proposed as a possible solution to combating corruption in South Africa.”  

The subtle dig at the failure of South Africa’s security cluster to gather its own intelligence on the criminal cartels that had been sabotaging Eskom throughout 2022, as confirmed in the Scopa hearings of 9 May, was plainly apparent in these words.   

But further down in her assessment, after acknowledging that the ILP model had lately begun to “gain traction” in South Africa — specifically, with its inclusion in the Strategic Plan of the South African Police Service 2020 to 2025 — Joubert was less than subtle. 

“The mandate given to GFFR and their execution thereof fully corresponds with this latest trend in policing,” she noted. “Moreover, it also accords with the strategic thinking of the SAPS and should therefore be embraced by the police, especially in light of the widely published failures of their own crime intelligence capacity that was cruelly exposed by the July 2021 riots.” 

Two big questions

The remaining questions for ordinary South Africans, then, had suddenly become twofold. First, would the security cluster act on the extensive list of names and companies cited in the GFFR reports? Second, what about the two Cabinet members?  

As for the first question, a possible answer was provided by Fivaz, in a media release sent out on 1 June to coincide with the publication of Joubert’s legal opinion.  

“A Presidential Proclamation has already tasked the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] with looking into corruption at Eskom,” he stated, “and GFFR has therefore already provided the SIU with electronic copies of all our reports and will also make a copy of the legal opinion available to them. 

“In addition, GFFR will offer the SIU access to our database that contains comprehensive information and link analysis. The SIU expressed its gratitude for our willingness to cooperate and to share the crime intelligence we have gathered with them.  

“We are also in the process of providing the SAPS with another copy of all relevant reports as well as a copy of the legal opinion, which will hopefully hasten criminal case development.”  

As for the second question, the answer was perhaps more problematic.  

On 20 May, this writer published an analysis piece that referred to News24’s naming of the Cabinet members, pointing out that the media organisation had skirted the legal issues by dismissing the GFFR intelligence as “a speckle of truth adorned by outlandish conspiracy theories, concocted intelligence and unsubstantiated allegations”. 

Read more: Eskom Intelligence Files

What we didn’t state, however, was that on the night of 27 February, the same day that our initial report on the intelligence files was published, President Cyril Ramaphosa had called an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the revelations of Eskom cartels and ANC kingpins.  

It was also difficult to overlook the fact that while Ramaphosa’s national security adviser, Sydney Mufamadi, had declined to name the names in his own appearance before Scopa on 26 May 2023, he did “dangle the carrot” of more information in a closed-door session.    

To Daily Maverick at least, it was looking increasingly likely that the leadership of the ANC had something very pungent to hide. DM 


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    I read a lot of different newspapers,nothing compares with the quality of DM

    • Enver Klein says:

      News24 subscription terminated

      • Grenville Wilson says:

        Well said, I have been thinking about subscribing to News24 myself, now that will never be!

      • Grenville Wilson says:

        Where is the public apology from Adriaan Basson and News24? The damage that that report did to the momentum of sorting out Eskom is immeasurable, there could be a defamation case lurking somewhere in there. When News 24 published JP’s article the thought crossed my mind that Iqbal Surve had bought a controlling share in News24!

    • rmrobinson says:

      What came over Jacques Pauw?

    • Coen Gous says:

      Am a contributor to DM and a subscriber to News24. The trash that Jacques Pauw wrote this morning in News24, contradicting everything that DM wrote. But what they do, they simply solence you by not publishing comments the moment you criticise any of their reporters. Pauw has becoming a lost soul, and News24 simply swallow everything he says. So glad DM fired him after his drunken escapades and lies to DM, and the police, about a year ago.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The truth is a soft pillow to sleep on, truth looks after itself,bar the shouting from culprits

  • Anthony Barker says:

    Of course the anc have something to hide. Feb 27 was obviously D day for anc. Trying to cover this up, while fikile does what he does best,bluster & deny.

  • Stephan Britz says:

    Would love to hear Adriaan Basson’s comments on this …

  • TherealMalcolm x says:

    Ah yes, News24, the pillar of bad journalism, useless editing, spelling mistakes, etc, etc. Nice one Jacques Pauw, you are part of the reason why I’m reading this article in the dark.

  • Blaise Walker says:

    Outstanding article!! Well done DM!! News24 is becoming less and less “Trusted News – First”…….. and more like “Dubious News – Revealed” (by DM of course!).

  • Laurence Erasmus says:

    Will Jacques Pauw apologise for his crude attempt to torpedo the Fivaz investigation and thereby aid and abet the continued plundering and looting of Eskom by the ANC ?

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Is this not the same person who tried to ‘frame’ a police officer in the Waterfront not so long ago … only to be found to have been drunk out of his mind ? Maybe the poor guy had another one of those ‘episodes’ … which seem to have become a habit ?

    • Barbara Chedzey says:

      Publishing senstionalist articles to rubbish an important report will not help to get rid of the corruption at Eskom
      Thanks to DM for this article

    • rmrobinson says:

      Pauw has done much good work, which is why I cannot fathom his conduct in this instance.

  • Terry Pearse says:

    I can only hazard a guess as to what motivated News24/Jacques Pauw’s skewed reporting on such a serious matter but am reassured by this article that balanced principled journalism lives on. Many thanks, Kevin – and to Cerita Joubert.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Sounds like Jacques has made a right Paauwphol of himself?

  • Mike Meyer says:

    For reasons that will no doubt eventually become clear Basson, and News 24 have adopted an anti De Ruyter stance. Pauw has done himself no favours by getting on board this bus.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    One has to wonder what Pauw and Basson’s agenda is here?

    • Dou Pienaar says:

      Remind me of some wisdom that i was offered by a wise man once: ‘Do not believe anything you hear or read and only half of what you see’.

  • John Kannemeyer says:

    I wonder what Carol Paton’s response to this will be considering how she waxed lyrical about Jacques Pauw so call expose.

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    Thank heavens for DM. We need you guys so much, and appreciate your tireless dedication to truth and integrity.

  • G.olivier says:

    Deeply disappointed in Pauw whose career I have followed since 1994 and for whom I have always had deep respect. It almost feels like he had skin in the game to have written the things that he did. I can’t help think that he has an axe to grind with Tony Oosthuizen from the Vrye Weekblad days when they were on opposite sides – which as valid as that may be – is an unforgivable reason to jeopardize such an essential investigation and to put lives at risk.

  • jasper.horrell says:

    “Where there is smoke, there is fire”, so the saying goes. There is an awful lot of smoke here.

  • Greg Deegan says:

    Pauw has lost all credibility.
    His alcohol induced fantasies seem to be an attempt to keep himself relevant but have left egg on the faces of the media houses that publish his fiction in good faith.
    One wonders now whether his previous articles and books require revisiting in order to ascertain truth from fiction or conjecture!
    Well done to Daily Maverick for your circumspection in this matter and for maintaining your ethic of thorough investigation in order to get to the truth, rather than revert to the sensationalism as displayed by News24!

    • Neil Parker says:

      Yes – I read some of what Jacques Pauw wrote and it just sounded like a whole lot of Bell-Pottinger type drivel. I would say he’s now joined the ranks of the “President’s Keepers”.

    • Cheryl Siewierski says:

      So agree with you. I’m starting to view his previous work with creeping suspicion too, and yes, well done to DM for its continued digging.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Perfect! Just what the state wants a media divided is a media conquered. Viva, ANC, Viva!

  • The Proven says:

    The quality of reporting on Daily Maverick is amazing – its my prime source of news. This is however concerning: “What Daily Maverick did not anticipate, however, was the tone of urgency in her conclusions.”. Frankly, please just get over yourself – focus on the message itself.
    Secondly, Mr Pauw should consider apologising. I have read Andre de Ruyter’s book – looking admittedly from a distance, the extent of that operation coupled with the detail supplied in the book makes it unlikely that it is anything but sound.

    • Having bought and read a number of Jacques Pauw’s books and deeming them very credible, apart from being a good read, I now ask myself: can I get a refund?

      • The Proven says:

        A journalist has an obligation to report responsibly, truthfully. People will tell them stuff, then it needs to be checked out. The SARS rogue unit and the way those articles were not checked (single source), is a good example of the pitfalls. You don’t just report.

        Jacques Pauw shot from the hip with his incorrect reporting – now we have to ask if he also shot from the hip with his previous reporting. That is extremely sad – all work suddenly becomes questionable.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    It sounds as though Jaques Pauw, with this rubbishing of Fivaz’s work, made any of his own future writing very problematic. Given his history of exposing corruption, I wonder what prompted him to label de Ruyter’s exposures as conspiracy theories. Sadly disillusioned. Would be helpful to readers to find out from Pauw the how, why and whats of his allegations.

  • Petrus Kleinhans says:

    Jacques Paauw is arrogant and irresponsible, and so are the greedy editors at News24 who published his dangerous sensationalism.

  • Petrus Kleinhans says:

    A group of fat cats who co-opted other cats, and said we’ll also make you fat, and they cast lots over the wealth of the land, and swore dark covenants.

  • peter04 says:

    So much for Cyril’s “I never enquired after the names put forward by de Ruyter”. Seems everyone was in the know come Feb 27!!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Thanks DM for this quality article based on quality research done by quality people.

    N24 needs some jacking up. For a start they can drop Verwoerd.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    For me, the most important aspect is, if Ramaphosa does nothing with the findings of GFFR, we have the right to assume that he is in agreement with corruption his comrades are involved in.

  • Louise van Dyk says:

    When I read the article on Jacques Pauw’s comments and his withdrawing his ‘new book’, I immediately cancelled my initial subscription with News24. I felt it to be a great injustice (and smelt a couple of rats), especially the article seemed to slay de Ruyter’s candid interview. I then subscribed to DM and scan through as many reports as I am able to, but read everything about our previous CEO carefully. Thank you for this report and thanks to GFFR and his team and also for the courage of Andre de Ruyter.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    The truth will always come out, and bite those who do not tell the truth. Thankfully DM does and helps keep the narrative honest.

  • Peter John says:

    Cancelled N24 subscription. Maybe they are allied with the ANC after all….

    • Johan says:

      I do not think it is the ANC. I think N24 is after the clicks (and money and inflated egos the number of clicks brings). Sensation seems irresistible. Not the first time.

  • Leslie Stelfox says:

    Is this the same Jacques Pauw that wrote about state capture under Zuma? If it is, it seems he too has been captured and is now trying to redeem himself!

  • Theo Pauw says:

    As a member of (essentially) the same clan that Jacques belong to, I am deeply disappointed in his actions and his destruction of his own credibility. The “why?” escapes me totally.

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    Well, well, well! Outstanding journalism Kevin Bloom.

  • Enzo Menegaldo says:

    Thanks DM for this article. When News24 trotted out the disgraced Jacques Paauw as the “authority” on the Fivaz investigation, I was gobsmacked, and wondering as to why on earth they had done so based on someone who’s integrity and credibility had become questionable. I have huge respect for the work Adriaan Basson, Pieter du Toit, Qaanitah Hunter and Karyn Maughn do, but this was a bad misstep. I think Adriaan should issue a public apology – he and News24 have broken a key tenet of what they profess to stand for, and the trust of their readers.

    • David Coutts-Trotter says:

      100% agree

    • johanw773 says:

      Can’t agree with you on Adriaan Basson. He was the main reason I stopped reading News24 about 3 years ago already.

      • Johan Scheepers Scheepers says:

        Agree 100%. AB’s objectivity has been questionable for a long time. He has his pet topics and views and reporting on any of those always seems twisted and sensationalised. His views on goings on at Stellenbosch University is one example of this bias

  • nickha says:

    I have read all the comments below and an apology and retraction by Pauw should be forthcoming. I am sure he has exposed a lot of rot but his reaction to the Fivaz report now casts doubt on everything ever written/exposed by him.

  • Werner Illenberger says:

    I hope that Jacques Pauw and News24 will do the responsible thing and pay for the security needed to protect George Fivaz, his company, and ADR as a result of their abominable misinformation. Apart from a full apology!

  • Johan Buys says:

    we had the thorough Zondo findings that resulted in zip zero nada. What makes anybody think that a “springboard” report will lead to anything more? The advocate’s opinion seems thin – it would have been more helpful if a prosecutor or three judges reviewed the report with a view to compiling dossiers that would survive a challenge if prosecuted.

    • The Proven says:

      Its an intelligence report, not something that should stand up in court, tested by judges. It states that both the methodology as well as the underlying facts were reviewed, and as an expert, agrees with the report. That is as good as it gets, frankly.

      • Grumpy Old Man says:

        Correct; that’s what it is an ‘intelligence report’ found to be sufficiently credible to warrant further investigation! Of course there is crucial evidence missing – Bank Account information by way of example. This type of information would not be legally accessible by Fivaz – it would require a Court Order. This Intelligence Report was only ever be as good as what the Police did with it. For me at least that should be the focus of the Scopa Enquiry. It’s absolutely mindblowing that ADR had to conduct his own undercover investigation, funded by private sector donations (work that Intelligence Servives together with SAPS should have initiated themselves) Law Enforcement, our Security Services & Scopa are probably the only people in this Country unaware of the systemic looting by sophisticated Cartels operating within Eskom only possible with political protection. The failure to investigate can only mean complicity within the Agencies themselves. But ‘No’ we will scapegoat ADR for not ‘naming & shaming’. Can Scopa be that ‘dense’? (My question is rhetorical)

  • Bernhard Scheffler says:


  • Ernest Esterhuizen says:

    A lot of Jack PO ! Won’t be surprised if he was bribed to attack and degrade the GFFR work on Eskom. How some prefer darkness because their deeds are evil.

  • Val Ruscheniko says:

    Start with Cyril’s sofa and work backwards from that point. All will then be revealed.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    The timing of Pauw’s counter-exposé was imho massively unfair to De Ruyter, essentially an ambush of ‘friendly forces’, and shifted the blame that should have rested squarely on Fivaz’s shoulders onto his. Why should DR question the credentials of someone professionally employed by a professional outfit? I already lost trust in Pauw after that restaurant incident, and now, I’m afraid I’ll take anything he writes with a substantial knippie sout.

  • jacki watts says:

    We need an interview with Basson as he is usially on the ball… What would influence him to allow such an explosive set of articles?

    • Ludovici DIVES says:

      Believe both Mr. Pauw and Basson owe their readers and themselves an explanation sooner than later for the sake of transparency and credibility.

  • Delia Jordaan says:

    I see N24’s head line this morning is that the advocate found that the report contained no evidence. Unfortunately the article is only for subscribers, which I am not, can someone that is a subscriber perhaps expand on what the N24 article says.

  • Deon Botha-Richards says:

    Strikes me that Pauw was just rubbishing the report because he didn’t publish it first. Professional jealousy me thinks.

  • Michael Petersen says:

    So based on definitions this is accepted? And one sentence of a whole report? Where is the evidence? One cannot accept because you like what it says that the findings are factual? Fivaz paid this person to vindicate his report, how is that not a conflict of interest?

    • johanw773 says:

      Uhhmm, that is one massive allegation to make. There is a difference between intelligence and evidence. The Fivaz report contains intelligence that must serve as a springboard for the security clusters to start taking action.

      • Michael Petersen says:

        The very legal opinion speaks about virtually no evidence to back up these claims and uses words like rumours. Yet that only line vindicates the entire report? That doesn’t make sense.

      • Michael Petersen says:

        Did you read the opinion? It also says that there is virtually no evidence.

        • johanw773 says:

          I read as much as is needed, including the conclusion. It vindicated the Fivaz report, which was really the point I was trying to make. If you have an issue with the substance of the report you are entitled to your opinion.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Sleepily read something last night of ” Iqbal Suurvy” getting some medal from Russia for being a “legend””uuuggghhh”

  • montebe montebe says:

    In stark contrast to News24’s headline yesterday – “Fivas reports on Eskom contained “virtually no evidence”finds advocate”. Desperate stakes

  • Neels de Jager says:

    Great article. News 24 I think I must cancel my subscription.

  • Kerry van Schalkwyk says:

    News24 have completely lost any credibility that they may have had. Adriaan Basson is only interested in gaining political points and it’s such a shame that Jacques Pauw allowed himself to be used as the puppet for Basson’s political agenda.

  • Michael Petersen says:

    Why is everyone attacking the messenger all because they are not saying what you want to hear? We all know that there are massive issues with theft and corruption at ESKOM. The Fivaz reports full of speculation and devoid of evidence does not help. Surely ADR should have interrogated the report more and should have know the type of people he is working with.

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