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Eskom’s intelligence report linked to apartheid-era operative

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Cape Town – Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter this week confirmed that his intelligence operation at the power utility that linked senior politicians to corruption and the looting in the company was funded by big business.

But De Ruyter would not name the business organisation that was involved, saying Eskom had not spent a cent on the work done.

It emerged that R50 million had been spent by business to fund Project Ostrich that came up with allegations that have not been backed up with evidence and facts.

News24 reported that former apartheid intelligence operative Tony Oosthuizen was hired by former national police commissioner George Fivaz to lead his investigations into Eskom. Fivaz runs a forensic investigation unit.

Oosthuizen is said to have used racist language against black people and alleged that he had killed 20 anti-apartheid activists.

The intelligence operation by Oosthuizen started last January, but Fivaz said it was time-consuming.

Apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock had implicated Oosthuizen in a raid in Botswana in 1990 where five people were killed.

In his appearance before Parliament’s finance watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), De Ruyter said the intelligence operation was driven by the need to protect Eskom’s assets.

News24 had named Business Leadership South Africa as the organisation that funded the project.

But De Ruyter did not confirm the identity of the funders to Scopa.

He said Eskom was almost on its knees with the criminality taking place and they needed to gather intelligence on those who were behind the looting.

“Because of the significant risk to Eskom as a result of criminal activity, it became clear that Eskom required some form of intelligence-gathering capability. This can be attributed to the fact that as the owner of a number of national key-points we were charged with the obligation to protect those national key points and to ensure that we took all steps necessary to secure the safety of those national key points,” De Ruyter told Scopa this week.

“We approached funders with a view to seeing if assistance could be obtained again, not using any Eskom money,” said De Ruyter.

He added that the report was shared with law enforcement agencies.

He said the state agencies took a number of steps.

He said this included the arrest of a number of people who were involved in corruption and theft at Eskom.

“This investigation was funded privately, by private donors. They were the contracting party, Eskom was not party to the contract involved. I wish to suggest the identity of those donors remain in their purview,” said De Ruyter.

Scopa said it will call Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi and the Hawks to appear before it on Wednesday.

This related to some of the issues raised by De Ruyter during the hearing, which included that he gave them the name of a high-ranking official involved in corruption at Eskom.

He refused to give the name to Scopa for legal reasons.

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