Publisher stands by De Ruyter and his book




Arena Holdings PTY

News | Politics

● Publisher Penguin Random House stands by André de Ruyter and his book Truth To Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom, while Eskom says it is still “reviewing” its contents and “will take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure that the board takes all necessary action” regarding the allegations it contains. On Thursday, during Eskom’s briefing about its outlook for winter, board chair Mpho Makwana slammed De Ruyter, saying: “It must be noted and placed on record that trust was broken in the most repulsive manner possible.” “Transgressions were carried out by an executive in a fiduciary position, in possession of proprietary information of a national key point, who evaded being vetted, breaching the Protection of Personal Information Act, various aspects of an executive director’s duties as defined in the Companies Act, the Public Finance Management Act, and his contract of employment clauses on confidentiality,” Makwana said. “Our corporate governance teams are reviewing all this and will take appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure that the board takes all necessary action.” However, Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena denied that these “reasonable steps” and “necessary action” included legal action, saying that “Eskom has never said it is taking its former GCE to court”. “Eskom notes the media reports based on the book released by its former group chief executive, André de Ruyter. Eskom will review the contents of the book and comprehensively respond at an appropriate time. We continue to focus on the task at hand to recover generation performance, reduce load-shedding and turn the organisation around,” the utility said. Surita Joubert, Penguin Random House’s marketing and publicity manager, said De Ruyter “acted in the public’s interest and in the interest of improving the running of Eskom and not with the aim to damage Eskom”. “All South Africans have a right to know the truth about how our country and its parastatals are really being run, and this book makes a significant contribution towards that democratic end,” she said. “We obtained legal advice prior to publication and are satisfied that the book is lawful and in the public interest.” The book was released last Sunday, but by the next day so many pirated digital copies had been shared on WhatsApp that the publisher released a statement saying it would lay criminal charges against those stealing their author’s work. Penguin Random House (PRH) warned anyone sharing the book on social media platforms illegally that they were breaking the law and that it had instructed its attorneys to send cease and desist letters to WhatsApp distributors. “PRH does not wish to take legal action against individual members of the public, but the prevalence of this practice, not only in respect of this book but also in respect of others, is becoming so widespread that it leaves PRH with no choice.”