Outgoing Eskom chief executive Andre De Ruyter has confirmed that an attempt was made on his life after someone allegedly tried to poison him with cyanide.
De Ruyter survived the murder attempt that was made on him just a day after his resignation from South Africa’s power utility, 24 hours before the resignation was made public.
The 51-year-old reported the matter to Hermanus Police Station a couple of days ago, where he has been on leave. His coffee was apparently poisoned with cyanide.
Sources say on December 13, after drinking a cup of coffee in his office at Megawatt Park, De Ruyer suddenly felt lightheaded and disoriented, and “started shaking uncontrollably and finally vomiting, falling to the floor”.
De Ruyter was then rushed to his doctor by the Eskom security detail that’s attached to him, and there he was diagnosed with cyanide poisoning and treated for it. A series of blood tests revealed “significantly elevated levels of cyanide in his body”.
Energy expert Chris Yelland said that De Ruyter has since recovered. It’s believed that he was specifically targeted. “It would appear there has been an attempted murder against De Ruyer…He has fortunately survived this,” said Yelland.
De Ruyter and his executive team have been clamping down on illicit revenue streams from a number of procurement irregularities which includes graft, fraud, theft, and maladministration within Eskom.
“We also know that there are very high levels of criminality and corruption which are particularly prevalent in the Mpumalanga province where there is a very high concentration of ageing and poorly performing Eskom coal-fire power stations,” he said.
Yelland said against that backdrop of work he has been doing, De Ruyter “obviously hasn’t been making himself popular with those who’ve been enjoying illegal and corrupt revenue streams”.
To date, there has only been one arrest of a former acting CEO in spite of deep corruption and maladministration within Eskom. “The prosecution authorities, the police, the HAWKS, the special units, need to get their act together,” said Yelland
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