That no love was lost between Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana and his ex-CEO André de Ruyter was clear right from the start. But MPs questioned the hard line in the politically steeped controversy over a privately funded investigation into cartel corruption at the power utility.
Parliament’s public spending watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), on Wednesday grappled with Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana’s sophistry that as nothing new had emerged from André de Ruyter’s “utterances”, nothing needed to be done by the board.
But MPs across the party political divide questioned why the Eskom board at a special meeting after De Ruyter’s controversial e.tv interview agreed to let him go immediately, in effect cutting short his notice period by five weeks, rather than question him about his claims of high-level politicians’ involvement in organised crime that costs the debt-ridden power utility R1-billion a month.
“You had an opportunity to ask your CEO to unpack all this, yet you just released him … Was it not premature?” asked ANC MP Bheki Hadebe.
DA MP Benedicta van Minnen talked of “a wilful ignorance” of what was reported. “You evade answering questions … [to] hide behind the blanket of, ‘We didn’t get a report in our packs’.”
As the Scopa chairperson, IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, put it, “You met with De Ruyter after his interview. Have you tested the allegations? Would it not have been of interest to you to find out where he got the…