Tutuka plant manager continues to wear bulletproof vest, family protected by bodyguards – De Ruyter

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Outgoing Eskom CEO André de Ruyter says the general manager of Tutuka Power Station in Mpumalanga continues to wear a bulletproof vest at work and has bodyguards protecting him and his family.

Tutuka Power Station

“This also happens to be the station where the power general manager when he walks the plant, he has to wear a bulletproof vest [and] he is accompanied by two bodyguards.

“His wife is protected by bodyguards and when his kids go to school; they are also protected by bodyguards. And this is due to threats to his life and that of his family,” said De Ruyter.

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De Ruyter made the remarks on Tuesday, during a meeting with Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), which was briefed by Eskom’s board and executives.

This was not the first time De Ruyter had revealed that Sello Mametja – the general manager at Tutuka – was receiving protection for exposing criminal syndicates contributing to theft, corruption and fraud at the coal-fired power plant.

He first revealed this at an Exporters Western Cape networking event in Cape Town, in November last year, but did not mention which power station he was referring to.

‘Very significant criminality’

De Ruyter said Tutuka was part of the top six power stations that were contributing the most to South Africa’s power crisis.

He said Tutuka was characterised by “very significant criminality” and its Energy Availability Factor (EAF) stood between 15% and 17%.

“This is just unacceptable for a station that is one of the newest in our fleet… Criminality remains an egregious problem in Mpumalanga and it needs to be addressed very firmly,” said De Ruyter.

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He said in order for Eskom to recover its generation fleet, the corruption and criminality engulfing the power station needed to be dealt with urgently.

“Our concern is that a significant part of this plan relies on Tutuka. And until we address the criminality that currently prevails in that power station and its environment – we will have a significant risk to recover when it comes to delivering megawatts to the grid.”

Eskom’s recovery plan

As part of Eskom’s recovery plan, De Ruyter said the parastatal had identified Tutuka, Duvha, Majuba, Kusile, Matla and Callide power stations as the worst-performing plants.

He said Eskom’s EAF, which he described as unacceptable, was currently sitting at 56% and the power utility was focusing on improving the performance of the six power stations.

“We anticipate that we’ll be able to return 1 862MW to the grid by the end of March of this year. That’s more or less equivalent to two stages of load shedding.

“We furthermore intend to add 6 000 megawatts over the next 24 months, but we need the skill, money and time to enable us to do this work,” said De Ruyter.

“In order to make sure that there is no further slippage on this performance, we have to guard the performance at our current flagship stations Medupi, Lethabo and Matimba and our open cycle gas turbines and our pump storage plants,” he added.

André de Ruyter assassination attempt

Earlier this month, it was reported that De Ruyter was allegedly poisoned in December.

According to EE Business Intelligence, De Ruyter fell sick after his cup of coffee was laced with cyanide at his Megawatt Park office in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.

The incident took place a day after he resigned as Eskom’s CEO.

De Ruyter has since laid a criminal complaint with police and his last day in office will be on 31 March.

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Source: citizen