Seething SG threatens legal action

Mbalula blows fuse over De Ruyter’s bombshells

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula briuefs the media at the ANC head office at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula briuefs the media at the ANC head office at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The ANC will be taking a legal action against departing Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter for his comments that the ANC comrades were using Eskom to enrich themselves.

During an interview with eNCA on Wednesday, De Ruyter alleged that Eskom was losing R1bn a month due to corruption and theft by people often affiliated to the ANC.

He also described the embattled power utility as a “feeding trough” of the ANC. 

Asked if Eskom was “a feeding trough for the ANC”, his response was: “The evidence suggests that it is.”

During a media briefing in Cape Town on Thursday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula announced the party would be serving De Ruyter with legal papers, not because of his political beliefs, he said, but because of the “serious” allegations made against the ruling party.

“He must prove what he said. Our lawyers are looking at what he said. People tend to make loud claims and leave us (ANC) tainted. People will say De Ruyter resigned because of a corrupt ANC. The statements he made about the ANC are huge. We must, and we will, as the ANC take action. That man must prove what he said about us. As ANC SG, I never sent anyone to De Ruyter and in their lousy talk, said what he said.

“His characterisations of the ANC will be tested in the field of politics. We will challenge him for saying our party is corrupt and failure to prove. He must prove within seven to 10 days that the ANC is corrupt. I won’t wait for a parliamentary committee,” Mbalula howled.

Mbalula continued his scathing remarks, adding that De Ruyter had exposed his regressive and political ideological, going as far as to say all that was left was for the Eskom CEO to contest elections.

Mbalula said De Ruyter had long resigned and urged  the Eskom board to quickly fill the gap left by the former CEO’s departure.

Eskom announced on Wednesday De Ruyter would leave the company with immediate effect, more than a month before his scheduled date on March 31.

“You don’t make political remarks and jargons when you’re at the end and being exposed in terms of your failures. De Ruyter had a choice, De Ruyter is educated, he’s a lawyer... now that he’s exposed his political standing, he should've known this thing (job) is not for him," he said.

Mbalula accused De Ruyter of “cheaply” denting the ANC’s image without any proof.

“He cheaply dented the image of the party because he said the ANC wants to steal. We’ve led the charge and established State Capture Commission of Inquiry. Just yesterday, we’ve allocated money through our minister of finance to fight corruption and state institutions to be empowered to fight state capture,” Mbalula said.

During his interview, De Ruyter said he expressed his concern to a government minister about attempts to water down governance around a  $8.5bn the power utility secured during 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP26.

“The response was you have to be pragmatic and in order to pursue the greater good, you have to allow some to eat a bit,” he said.

De Ruyter continued to say there was a narrative that the state should control everything.

“Unfortunately, the ghosts [Karl] Marx and [Vladimir] Lenin still haunt the halls of Luthuli House and people are still firmly committed to a 1980s style ideology and still address each other as 'comrade' which is embarrassing and use words like lumpenproletariat, which is ridiculous because these things were last said in 1980s in East Germany,” he said.

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