23 February 2023

Joint business statement on allegations of corruption made public by former Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter

Business has carefully considered the latest developments at Eskom. Our response is informed by the concern we have about the impact these developments are likely to have on the efforts we are making to stabilise energy supply, fight against crime and corruption and improve investor confidence.

We acknowledge that the allegations of corruption made by Andre De Ruyter remain unproven, however we take these allegations extremely seriously, particularly because of allegations that ministers and advisors in the Presidency knew about the continued high levels of corruption and apparently did nothing about it. We believe these allegations, if correct, are extremely damaging to ESKOM, the efforts to address the energy crisis and to the nation.

These serious allegations require an urgent response from our government and appropriate agencies of state to ensure that the truth is uncovered, and appropriate action taken. The allegations throw serious doubts on the ability of ESKOM to appropriately manage its resources, including additional resources allocated in the recent budget. We thus call on all major procurement contracts, including those related to the $8.5B climate change fund, to be transparent to assure the public that proper processes and structures are in place to prevent any corruption and to hold those responsible to account.

We condemn the attacks on Andre De Ruyter, irrespective of which quarter they come from. Reactions like these add credence to accusations that whistle-blowers are often treated as the criminals they unmask. We will not comment on reactions from political parties but urge government to act responsibly and give our country the confidence that they will address the allegations speedily and responsibly. This is particularly important in the midst of the energy crisis we currently have and the centrality of ESKOM in that.

It is a symptom of the current conjuncture in South Africa that, in the midst of the most serious energy crisis we have ever faced, efforts to address the crisis could be compromised or delayed by these latest developments. As serious as these developments are, government and business must continue working together to implement the Energy Action Plan driven through NECOM as quickly as possible.

Business is committed to continue working with government to ensure urgent implementation of the plan and recognises that ESKOM is a critical element of this plan. We thus urge the ESKOM board to urgently address the leadership vacuum at ESKOM, to appoint a CEO and full EXCO team with appropriate capacity and expertise and be transparent about their reporting lines and responsibilities and to assure the public they will be held accountable for performance under their control.

We also urge that a critical part of the Energy Action Plan must be to instil an appropriate culture in ESKOM with values of honesty, integrity, excellence, ethics, and accountability.

 

END

Issued by:

Business Unity South Africa

CEO Cas Coovadia

Business Leadership South Africa

CEO Busi Mavuso

 

For more information, please contact:

Sizwe Maswanganye

Tel: 011 784 8000/0766516444

Email: sizwe.maswanganye@busa.org.za