Pravin Gordhan, the minister of public enterprises, also assured reporters on Sunday that the alleged incident “would be thoroughly investigated” and that those accountable will face charges.
Gordhan claimed there was a fierce conflict “between those who want South Africa to develop and thrive and those who want to corruptly benefit themselves” without providing any further evidence.
De Ruyter resigned on December 14 under political pressure after failing to resolve an Eskom problem that had caused record-high power outages in Africa’s largest industrialised economy.
De Ruyter oversaw a firm-wide crackdown on organised crime and corruption at Eskom plants after officially taking office in January 2020. This included sabotage of infrastructure. His term as president will end on March 31.
“Eskom cannot comment further on the poisoning incident involving the group chief executive, which occurred during December 2022, as the matter is subject to police investigation,” the utility’s head of security said in a statement.
The first account of the cyanide poisoning was published on Saturday by the specialised energy newspaper EE Business Intelligence.
The Democratic Alliance, an opposition party, demanded swift action on Sunday against organised crime groups it claimed were “hell-bent on solidifying their control over Eskom that is ruining the economy.”
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