Eskom launches probe into racism allegations against CEO De Ruyter

Andre de Ruyter
Andre de Ruyter
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

Eskom board has resolved to launch an investigation into racism allegations levelled against chief executive Andre de Ruyter by one of the power utility's senior officials.

Eskom announced on Tuesday morning that it had initiated the investigation in a bid to establish the veracity of the allegation.

“The allegation not only brings Eskom into disrepute, but it also threatens to detract and distract the focus of the executive team and the group chief executive (De Ruyter) in particular from their critical job of restoring Eskom to operational and financial sustainability,” Eskom said.

Suspended Eskom chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano has accused De Ruyter of racist behaviour and of getting rid of black suppliers at the utility, and has sent a letter detailing the allegations to Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

Eskom indicated that it would appoint an independent senior counsel to lead the investigation into the allegations.

“The counsel will be empowered to interview any person that may be of assistance in the probe, and will consider any evidence and will then report back to the board and make recommendations,” Eskom said.

The Eskom board reiterated its unanimous opposition to racism and sexism and its support for transformation.

“Simultaneously, however, the board has instructed the executive to promote a high-performance culture to enable the critically important turnaround at Eskom to be delivered as soon as possible,” the utility said.

Last week, Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa indicated that the committee would conduct its own probe into the allegations made by Tshitangano, whose suspension was for alleged poor performance.

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