ANC’s frantic search for elusive De Ruyter hits a brick wall

The ANC’s hopes of suing former Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter for defamation have all but gone up in smoke, at least for now.

This is as summons prepared by the governing party’s lawyers continue to gather dust as the battle to get them to De Ruyter is proving tougher than drilling a hole into a rock.

De Ruyter is a wanted man by the ANC, which took offence after he charged during an interview with an eTV news anchor that the party was using Eskom as a “feeding trough”.

In response to the accusations, the Luthuli House-based political outfit fired back by aiming its salvo at the power utility to retract and distance itself from its former employee’s remarks.

But as the state-owned entity continues to stall, asking for extensions to consider the ANC’s demands for retraction, De Ruyter has seemingly disappeared with the wind, leaving the fire he started burning with no extinguisher in sight at Pixley ka Isaka Seme Street, where the governing party’s head office is situated.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who has made it his mission to take jabs at De Ruyter every time there is a media microphone in sight, has been putting pressure on party attorney Krish Naidoo to slap De Ruyter with a lawsuit.

Naidoo is growing increasingly frustrated as the documents he prepared in this regard cannot reach the intended first recipient.

“We cannot find Mr Adre De Ruyter to serve him with the summons. We do not know where he is, although we thought since he worked at Megawatt Park he should be living around Joburg,” said a frustrated Naidoo.

“First we have to assume that he is in the country and trace him. If an estate agent goes to his house and the door is locked and people say he has left the country, as a political party we cannot go to home affairs and say check all the ports of entry and exit. We do not have that power.

“We must try and trace him, if we cannot, we have to apply to the court to put an advert in a newspaper. But we must get some indication first about the whereabouts of this guy, is he in London, New York or Europe? We do not know where he is, but we have to pursue him because the ANC has publicly said we have to pursue this matter.”

Mbalula concurred with Naidoo, saying it was puzzling that De Ruyter’s bravery in fingering the ANC in the manner he did was short-lived when it was time to face the music.

“He has gone underground. That bravery we saw on television of him saying that the ANC is corrupt, we do not see it any longer.

But we will trace him, find him and smoke him out wherever he is.

“We are not going to allow anyone to say the ANC is corrupt. We have said that even if there are ANC members who went to Eskom knocking and doing corruption, De Ruyter had a right to report such activities.”

According to Mbalula, no matter how far De Ruyter runs, the ANC “won’t sweep the matter under the carpet” since the party image had been “battered by allegations of corruption” for too long without taking the accusers to task.

Naidoo said there was no point in De Ruyter going into hiding because the summons against him cannot be wished away because “he made very serious allegations and defamatory stuff” against his client – the ANC.

“We are ready to sue him, but we do not know where he is.”

A source with knowledge of the tussle between the ANC and De Ruyter said it was almost a certainty that De Ruyter was no longer in the country, particularly after his infamous interview, where he stated publicly that he was headed for Europe.

De Ruyter is also wanted by parliament’s standing committee on public accounts and it too has been unable to reach him.

This newspaper’s attempts to seek De Ruyter’s comments also drew a blank.

To read more political news and views, click here.

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here

Latest News