South Africa's Eskom says police investigating alleged poisoning of CEO

  • World
  • Sunday, 08 Jan 2023

FILE PHOTO: Andre de Ruyter, Group Chief Executive of state-owned power utility Eskom speaks during a media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham//File Photo

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -South African power utility Eskom on Sunday said police were investigating whether an attempt was made to poison its outgoing Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan also told Reuters on Sunday the alleged incident "will be thoroughly investigated" and anyone responsible charged.

Without giving any details, Gordhan said an intense battle was taking place "between those who want South Africa to work and thrive and those who want to corruptly enrich themselves".

Faced with political pressure, De Ruyter resigned on Dec. 14 after failing to solve a crisis in Eskom that has led to record power cuts in Africa's most industrialised economy.

After officially taking office in January 2020, De Ruyter led a company-wide clampdown on corruption and organised criminal behaviour, including sabotage of infrastructure, at Eskom plants. His last day in office will be 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.

Reuters could not immediately reach De Ruyter for comment.

The alleged cyanide poisoning was first reported by specialist energy publication EE Business Intelligence on Saturday.

Opposition party the Democratic Alliance on Sunday called for decisive action against criminal syndicates that it said were "hell-bent on cementing their stranglehold on Eskom that is destroying the economy".

The South African police services did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment. Eskom's board chairman Mpho Makwana was also unavailable.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; editing by Barbara Lewis)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Lebanon has two times of day amid daylight savings dispute
Honduras government says ending diplomatic ties with Taiwan
Labor party takes power in 'fresh start' for Australia's biggest state
Leaders at Ibero-American summit discuss Haiti, vow cooperation on environment
IAEA head to visit Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant next week
Chad pardons 380 rebels in apparent peace gesture
Explainer-What are tactical nuclear weapons and what is Russia's policy?
What did Putin say on tactical nuclear weapons and Belarus?
Putin says Moscow to place nuclear weapons in Belarus, US reacts cautiously
Venezuela arrests 21 in corruption crackdown, 11 more wanted

Others Also Read