The African National Congress National Youth Task Team (ANC NYTT) has rejected the appointment of Andre de Ruyter as the new CEO of state power utility Eskom.
The Department of Public Enterprises announced the appointment on Monday to mixed reactions. He will officially assume the position on 15 January.
In a statement on Tuesday, the NYTT said it is “alarmed at the blatant disregard for skills and experience in the process of appointing the Eskom CEO.”
‘Cronyism and blatant white privilege’
The NYTT, which is tasked with rebuilding the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), claimed de Ruyter has a “long history of eroding shareholder value in major corporations,” citing his “dismal track record at Sasol and Nampak.”
It said his appointment “can only be explained in the darker corners of cronyism which seems to be perpetuated by the Minister of Public Enterprises and confirms that white privilege remains the order of the day in South African boardrooms.”
It added that de Ruyter’s appointment disregarded women and black candidates and accused the government of missing an opportunity to advance gender and racial equality.
“De Ruyter’s appointment is nothing more than a race to the bottom and the ANC NYTT rejects this appointment as dirty cronyism and blatant white privilege,” it concluded.
The statement was signed off by NYTT convener Tandi Mahambehlala and Coordinator Sibongile Besani. Both, as well as most of NYTT members, are also members of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).
ANC welcomes appointment
The NYTT’s statement is in stark contrast with that of its parent organisation, the ANC, which welcomed the appointment in a statement on Monday.
The party said, “The ANC wishes Mr de Ruyter well in leading the management and staff in turning around the fortunes and reputation of a national asset that plays a critical role in the country’s economy…
“…And assures him of the governing party’s support for the efforts he will lead to set Eskom on a footing that will enable our economy to grow and contribute to energy security in the SADC region.”
Democratic Alliance chief whip Natasha Mazzone also welcomed the appointment and implored de Ruyter “to use this experience to set Eskom on the right course to recovery.”
However, the Economic Freedom Fighters slammed it as “anti-transformation and racist.”