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BLSA calls for further investigations into Eskom corruption claims


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BLSA calls for further investigations into Eskom corruption claims

27th February 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia
Senior Contributing Editor Online


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Business organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso says the organisation is calling for issues to be explored in the public interest, following State-owned utility Eskom’s former CEO André de Ruyter’s “controversial” interview with’s Annika Larsen in which he implied that a Cabinet Minister was aware of corrupt activities at a high level.

“There’s important work to be done. Our three key network industries are in varying degrees of distress. No one needs reminding how severe our electricity crisis is as Stage 6 loadshedding hit again last week but, if reforms aren’t effectively implemented in the other network industries the consequences will be just as severe,” she writes in her weekly newsletter.


Mavuso avers that in all three network industries, considerable amounts of private sector investment are required, which will involve local and multinational companies, as well as organisations such as multilateral development banks, bond market investors and possibly even State employees through the Government Employees Pension Fund.

She also points out that South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) package is being funded by the US, the UK, France, Germany and the EU.  


According to Mavuso, investors of this nature will not tolerate any corruption, especially at the very top.

“Many are governed by their own laws such as “know your client” that demand due diligence is conducted to ensure there is no corruption involved with transaction counterparts. These regulations are driven by the international Financial Action Task Force, the very institution that has adjudged our systems to combat money laundering, including our ‘know your client’ regulations, to be sub-par.

“Although unproven, De Ruyter’s allegations are serious. What is particularly alarming is the connection to the $8.5-billion package, where he alluded to attempts to ‘water down’ provisions to safeguard it against corruption and was told that ‘in order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit’,” Mavuso writes.

She says the BLSA is concerned that the JET-IP package could be at risk as the countries that are funding it are already concerned about South Africa’s international positioning.

The US House of Representatives, as an example, is considering a resolution filed by Republicans last week asking the Biden administration for “a thorough review of the current and future status of the US-South Africa bilateral relationship”, she indicates.

Mavuso says the BLSA fully supports Eskom chairperson Mpho Makwana’s call for De Ruyter to “walk to the nearest police station and report the matter”.

It also supports the ANC Veterans League statement issued by convenor Snuki Zikalala calling on the President to afford him the protection of a whistleblower, “bearing in mind that our legislative whistleblowing protections are weak”.

BLSA also agrees with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan that the news channel was the wrong forum to air those views if it was indeed the first occasion in which they were aired, and believes Makwana is correct in asserting that De Ruyter should have reported the allegations to the board.

Most importantly, however, De Ruyter should have laid charges with the appropriate authorities, if he has not yet in fact already done so, Mavuso emphasises.

“The pushback by the ANC has been illuminating, attacking De Ruyter’s character, but apart from the Veteran’s League, not one senior ANC member has said, ‘let’s investigate this properly’. After all, it’s not as if the allegations have been made by just anybody – this was the CEO of Eskom appointed by Eskom’s previous board, which in turn had been appointed by the shareholder,” Mavuso writes.

She says the one issue that needs urgent investigation is the very serious implication that a Cabinet Minister was aware of corrupt dealings of a fellow “senior politician” but did not report it, with this being a criminal act.

“BLSA is extremely concerned about the poisoned environment in which the energy market operates and believes these serious allegations, though unproven, require an urgent response from our government and appropriate agencies of state to ensure that the truth is uncovered and appropriate action taken,” Mavuso states. 


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