Gordhan says ‘no thanks’ to naming politicians tied to Eskom corruption allegations

 ·17 May 2023

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says he won’t name any politicians who have been implicated in alleged corruption at Eskom by former chief executive Andre de Ruyter.

De Ruyter made waves earlier this year when he delivered an explosive interview with eNCA, where he claimed that high-level politicians from the ANC were aware of and involved in corruption at the embattled power utility.

The allegations are reportedly rooted in several “intelligence reports” from a privately funded investigation carried out by George Fivaz Forensic & Risk.

In his interview, as well as in his new book, de Ruyter explicitly named Gordhan as being informed and aware of the politicians involved.

Addressing the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday (17 May), Gordhan said that the names he had been made aware of by de Ruyter were based on “preliminary information” from incomplete and untested intelligence reports, which had zero evidence attached.

He argued that mentioning names would merely smear the individuals with no basis, adding that much harm has been done in the past by following so-called intelligence reports that proved to be entirely incorrect.

“I am not going to implicate or smear the reputations of others without credible evidence and verifiable facts being provided. Intelligence dossiers, as some of you might remember, have done a great deal of harm and immeasurable damage to our country and to its institutions and individuals,” he said.

“In fact, I was the target of a so-called intelligence report in 2017, after which I was fired as minister of finance. I know what I’m talking about.”

Gordhan said he was not given any copy of any report of the investigation – and as such, he cannot give names. “I saw a diagram,” he said.

“I was told that this was preliminary information, certainly not evidence,” he said.

“Furthermore, it would seem to me that there were weekly reports that de Ruyter received from this project. So I would ask that Scopa request that de Ruyter, or the people who conducted the investigation, or those who have had subsequently gained access to the report provide details on names of individuals.

“The basis for me knowing the names is discredited. And this investigation also stands to be approached sceptically and discredited as well, as some of the allegations or information cannot be verified and are untested at this point in time.

This brings the Eskom corruption name game full circle, with no one willing to put on record the names of senior and high-ranking politicians allegedly involved in corrupt activity at Eskom.

At the launch of the Scopa inquiry into the matter, de Ruyter was first up in refusing to name those involved.

Despite the former Eskom CEO being the one to bring the entire matter into public view, he said that he would not name names over fears for his safety, potential follow-up legal action, as well as potentially defeating the ends of justice by disrupting ongoing investigations.

At the time, he said that Gordhan or President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi would be best placed to answer Scopa’s questions.

Mufamadi is also expected to address Scopa.

Read: De Ruyter goes for round 2 on Eskom corruption in explosive tell-all book

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