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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: BUSINESS DAYFREDDY MAVUNDA
Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter. Picture: BUSINESS DAYFREDDY MAVUNDA

In February 2002 the Financial Times Global Energy Awards named Eskom global power company of the year. With this in mind it was interesting to read Dr Lucas Ntyintyane’s recent letter stating that Eskom CEO André De Ruyter is also to blame for the current situation at Eskom ("Is it not De Ruyter’s fault?", May 18). However, he makes several errors of logic, as well as several errors of fact.

As we are now aware, the collapse of Eskom was almost two decades in the making, beginning with the ANC’s Chancellor House involvement in both major local and international players before the launch of the Medupi and Kusile power stations project in 2007. Almost immediately both projects were plagued with accusations of corruption involving Japanese firm Hitachi, as well as a number of large South African companies. The sordid details have all been highlighted in the news on a regular basis, but the most recent news report stated that the ANC’s Chancellor House stood to make a 5,000% profit on the projects. Neither Medupi or Kusile is currently fully operational.

However, as we are now aware, it was only in 2009 that state capture commenced when Jacob Zuma became president and began to actively intervene, putting a number of senior personnel in critical positions at various SOEs, of which Eskom was the most critical to the SA economy. The details of Zuma and his “radical economic transformation” cadre interventions have been exposed in detail in Justice Raymond Zondo’s state capture reports, but, in fact, the bulk of the evidence and the major culprits involved had already been exposed thanks to the efforts of local investigative journalists.

By the time the Zondo commission began its work, all of the sordid details, as well as the key individuals involved, were well known. In essence, the destruction of Eskom was masterminded by local and overseas individuals and companies, with the blessing of Zuma from 2009 until 2018. This is when most of the damage was done — while the ANC cadres he appointed were fully in charge.

De Ruyter was appointed in January 2020, and only then was the full extent of the destruction exposed. He was faced with the Herculean task of attempting to restore Eskom’s ageing power stations to something like their former glory. So Dr Ntyinyane is expecting De Ruyter to repair the devastation of nine years in just two and a half years. De Ruyter might actually have had a chance to achieve this were it not for the fact that, despite all his efforts and that of the experts he has appointed, he has been confronted with an ongoing campaign of looting of funds, the theft of millions of litres of diesel fuel, sabotage of critical equipment in the power stations themselves and out in the field, as well as continued wholesale theft of copper cable.

Faced with these deliberate efforts to deny SA the reliable power it so critically needs to rebuild the economy, I can only suggest that Dr Ntyinyane look up the definition of the word “treason” and ask the question: “Who would benefit from the collapse of the SA economy?”

Mitch Launspach, Via email

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.​


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