Amid a deepening national energy crisis, South Africa‘s state-owned power utility Eskom announced on Wednesday that its CEO Andre de Ruyter who was scheduled to leave the firm next month, had quit with immediate effect.
The state-owned utility said in a statement on Wednesday that de Ruyter, who assumed leadership in 2020 but left in December, would stand down from his position next month to give them time to select a replacement.
“Following the convening of a special Board meeting on 22 February 2023, the Eskom Board and Group Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter have reached mutual agreement to curtail his notice period to 28 February 2023,” read Eskom’s statement.
De Ruyter would leave his position with immediate effect, according to the Eskom board members.
“The board further resolved that de Ruyter will not be required to serve the balance of his notice period but that he will be released from his position with immediate effect,” added the company’s statement.
The power utility made its announcement shortly after its former CEO spoke with the eNCA news agency and expressed worries about the political will of the government to eradicate pervasive corruption at the power service.
When asked “is Eskom a feeding trough if you like for the ANC” de Ruyter responded with “I would say that the evidence suggests that it is.”
“I expressed my concerns to a senior government minister about attempts in my view to water down governance around the $8.5 billion U.S. Dollars that through Eskom’s intervention we got at COP26, and the response was essentially you know you have to be pragmatic,” he said.
“In order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit,” added the former CEO.
Enoch Godongwana, the finance minister, stated Wednesday that the state-owned power provider would be relieved of about $14 billion (R254 billion) in debt.
“We are proposing a total debt relief arrangement for Eskom of R254 billion,” said Godongwana.
“This consists of two components, one consists of R184 billion. This represents Eskom’s full debt requirements. Second is the direct takeover of up to R70 billion of Eskom’s loan portion in 2025-26,” added the finance minister.
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