I am the minister André de Ruyter spoke to, Pravin Gordhan admits
‘As far as my understanding of law is concerned, I can’t just arbitrarily point to someone and say that person is involved in whatever the suggestion is.’
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has confirmed that he was the minister that former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter talked to about another senior official allegedly benefiting from the corruption at Eskom, but he dismissed these as “allusions”.
During the interview with presenter Annika Larsen broadcast on eNCA last week, De Ruyter made several allegations of wrongdoing and criminality in the ANC.
“I expressed my concern to a senior government minister about attempts, in my view, to water down governance around the $8.5bn that, by and large to Eskom’s intervention, we got at COP26, and the response was that you must be pragmatic. In order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit,” he said.
Asked what happened when he reported his concerns and ongoing criminal activity at Eskom, he said: “So when we pointed out that there was one particular high-level politician that was involved in this, the minister in question looked at senior officials and said, ‘I guess it was inevitable that it would come out anyway’.”
This week Gordhan, in an interview with Newzroom Afrika, confirmed there was a discussion between the duo on criminality at the ailing entity.
“Mr de Ruyter was the CEO, I’m the minister responsible for Eskom and we have discussed corruption and the involvement of various people, not necessarily by name, in corruption in one form or another.
“Yes he has made allusions about certain individuals but it was precisely that, allusions. And as far as the law is concerned, as far as my understanding of the law is concerned, I can’t just arbitrarily point to someone and say that person is involved in whatever the suggestion is.”
Gordhan echoed his comments made in parliament the previous week, saying he could not rely on “rumour, suspicion or even what a certain publication calls intelligence”.
“There’s a distinction between that and evidence,” he stressed, adding that if De Ruyter had evidence of wrongdoing, he must report it to law-enforcement agencies.
Pressed on whether he believed De Ruyter had the evidence to back up his claims, Gordhan said it was probable that he did given the former's involvement in investigations at the utility into the various mafias operating there.
The minister also spoke on a range of issues around the ailing utility, including load-shedding, corruption and reports of four cartels crippling the entity.
Daily Maverick published a story on Monday apparently linking two ministers to four cartels operating within Eskom.
Gordhan denied being aware of the cartels’ existence, saying rather he was aware that there was corruption at Eskom, similar to the corruption at other SOEs.
He did however confirm that there were “corrupt elements inside of Eskom and outside of Eskom in each of the areas where money can be made”.
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