'Racialising corruption' takes SA back to its ugly past, Mabuza tells NCOP
Deputy President David Mabuza on Thursday told members of the National Council of Provinces not to politicise matters involving Eskom’s CEO, André de Ruyter, who has been accused of racism.
“We will continue to investigate any allegation that will crop up as we continue to get Eskom on the right footing. I don’t want us to politicise and to racialise the corruption that is happening at Eskom. Corruption is corruption, and we must not give corruption a colour,” said Mabuza.
The deputy president was responding during an oral question and answer session in parliament on various issues which included the government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, land reform and Eskom.
On Tuesday SowetanLIVE's sister publicationTimesLIVE reported that the power utility was starting to look into racism allegations against De Ruyter, who has been accused of helping purge black suppliers in favour of white suppliers.
The EFF’s Brenda Tirhana Mathevula told Mabuza that Matshela Koko, Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh and Solly Tshitakano were suspended from their executive and senior management roles at Eskom on various allegations such as corruption and underperformance.
However, when Jan Oberholzer was accused of corruption, he was not suspended. In fact he instituted an investigation to clear himself while at work, she said.
“Deputy president, currently there are serious allegations of corruption and racism made by a senior manager at Eskom against Eskom CEO André de Ruyter based on a letter sent to parliament, the minister of public enterprises and the board — but he is not suspended.
“Deputy president, is accountability and suspension only reserved for black senior managers of SOEs when allegations of corruption surface while whites like De Ruyter are untouchable and protected by the minister of public enterprises?”
Mabuza responded by saying: “We are getting continuous reports from the political task team that is looking into the affairs of Eskom. We are continuously briefed about the corruption cases that are being followed [and] investigated, and we appreciate progress being made by our law-enforcement agencies.
“Anyone who is found to be on the wrong side will be investigated, will be suspended and finally be expelled from Eskom, but let us not jump the gun, let us follow the process of the law.”
Mabuza said the process might take long and MPs may lose patience but the government was obliged, and expected, to follow the law.
“Yes, there are allegations that are levelled against a number of people at Eskom and finally I can tell you that we are going to dig to the bottom of these allegations. But we don’t want to be driven by racial tendencies — SA belongs to all of us, black and white, and we must respect that,” said Mabuza, urging MPs to try to avoid tendencies that “sought to take the country back to its ugly past”.
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