An answering affidavit by recently departed Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter, to ActionSA, UDM and 17 others’ court case proves, without any doubt, that the decisions of the ANC-led government, as far back as 1998, are directly to blame for the state of loadshedding in which South Africa currently finds itself.
The Eskom board announced that De Ruyter left the utility “with immediate effect” after he made a series of damming allegations, further proving ActionSA’s belief that the ANC-led government would rather malign the messenger than deal with the substantive allegations he made.
The court case by UDM, ActionSA and 17 others seeks to, among others, declare the ANC-led government’s response to loadshedding as unconstitutional and breaching a number of fundamental human rights, and ask that certain sectors such as safety and healthcare be exempted from load-shedding. The case is set to be heard on 20 March 2023 in the Gauteng High court.
In his damming answering affidavit, De Ruyter indicated that Eskom lost its ability to invest in new electricity generation in the 1990s, and has since requested approval from the state to build new generating capacity.
De Ruyter’s affidavit reads: “With the building of new power stations delayed for over a decade, Eskom has had to run its ageing coal fleet at far higher usage levels than accepted international industry practice and defer planned maintenance.”
When the ANC-led government finally granted Eskom approval to build new power stations, De Ruyter said the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations had to be rushed to reduce load-shedding, leading to design flaws and poor construction.
De Ruyter furthermore states that if former Eskom CEOs Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko did not refuse to conclude agreements with Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (REIPP), 96% of load-shedding today could’ve been avoided.
His affidavit reads: “Mr Molefe and Mr Koko took these decisions in contravention of a determination by the Minister of Minerals and Energy that Eskom was to conclude REIPP agreements to mitigate the foreseeable supply constraints we are now experiencing.”
“By taking these decisions, Mr Molefe and Mr Koko inhibited the necessary growth of South Africa’s generation capacity.”
De Ruyter said the government adopted a “keep lights on policy” which meant that Eskom was effectively prohibited from performing required maintenance if doing so would result in load-shedding.
The direct result of this decision was that the energy reliability factor (ERF) at Eskom power stations decreased, leading to higher stages of loadshedding.
Furthermore, De Ruyter states that Hitachi – who helped construct boilers at the Medupi and Kusile power stations – sold 25% of its stake in a subsidiary to the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House.
“Hitachi encouraged Chancellor House to use its political influence to ensure that it obtained contracts from Eskom, and Hitachi paid Chancellor House approximately US$5 million in ‘dividends’,” De Ruyter’s affidavit reads.
De Ruyter’s affidavit reaffirms ActionSA’s belief that the ANC is a criminal syndicate that is directly responsible for the disaster that is loadshedding. The ANC should be held accountable for plunging the country into darkness, sacrificing our people’s safety and livelihoods as a result.
It is only through ethical leadership and rule of law that the load-shedding disaster can be resolved, qualities the ANC has shown time and time again it does not possess.