Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has refused to directly respond to accusations that outgoing Eskom CEO André de Ruyter is a traitor.
De Ruyter resigned from the power utility’s top position earlier this week, as the country continues to grapple with rolling blackouts.
Last week, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said that De Ruyter and Eskom management were actively agitating for the overthrow of the state as it continues to implement power cuts.
This is how Gordhan responded to a question about Mantashe’s accusations.
“In relation to the overthrow of the state traitor, the emphatic answer is no. I am not going to qualify it in any way. Whatever commentary one might have about an individual, it is absolutely unfair and uncalled for to use that kind of language for somebody who tried their best to get Eskom out of the mess it was in. The more knowledgeable people know that the mess did not start in 2019 or in 2012. It started a long time ago.”
De Ruyter says the recent media comments informed his decision to resign from the power utility. This after Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe equated the recent rolling blackouts to treason.
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Briefing the media in Johannesburg, De Ruyter said work as the CEO is dependent on support from the broader political space.
Speaking at a press conference to respond to De Ruyter’s resignation, Gordhan thanked him and his family for their sacrifice.
“By taking a huge step in crossing the line from the private sector to the public sector, and by his own admission, there are many things that worked well and many things that still need to be done and in that particular regard his humility in accepting that more work needs to be done but at the same time he can spend time with his family being rest assured that he’s given his all to this particular important national project.”
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