The De Ruyter haters

David Bullard says the Eskom CEO has one of the lousyist jobs in SA, but is sticking it out for all our sakes


Thank heavens the farce of COP26 is finally over and we no longer have to watch all those hysterical freeloaders pretending that the end of the world is nigh. By now we would all have been made aware of the hypocrisy of this virtue signalling gabfest, particularly the 400 private jets that flew in for the party not to mention the fleets of gas guzzling limousines employed to get the various worthies to the conference hall on time.

And what did it all achieve, apart from offering another opportunity for sweary eco-goblin Greta Thunberg to steal the limelight? Not very much it seems.

Strangely, the demand that countries suddenly stop using coal burning power stations hasn’t gone down terribly well with countries that rely on coal burning power stations to keep their economies afloat.

This apparently caused COP26 President Alok Sharma to “fight back tears” as he apologised to the delegates for the outcome (more blub, blub, blub than blah, blah, blah) but said that it was vital to protect this package which is the phasing down rather than the phasing out of coal. Moderately good news for those involved in the coal mining industry and with no skills for any other type of work then.

There followed a dramatic pause as Sharma looked down, touched his nose and remained poignantly silent. This prompted the delegates to spontaneously burst into an extended bout of applause which could have continued for much longer had Sharma not quietened his adoring (and no doubt also fighting back tears) audience with the words “thank you friends, we need to proceed”.

It was a perfectly stage managed rebuke to all those selfish countries who obviously don’t give a damn about melting polar ice caps, rising oceans and the possibility that temperatures could reach 25 degrees C on an English summer’s day if we don’t all stop eating meat and killing the planet with our carbon dioxide emissions. The saintly actress Joanna Lumley (who hosts a travel programme to exotic locations) has even suggested that flights may have to be rationed for the hoi-polloi if things don’t improve soon.

Personally I think it’s all load of bunkum and I’m with Jeremy Clarkson on this issue when he says that the planet is pretty old, has been changing all the time and is perfectly capable of looking after itself.

Suddenly switching to ‘renewable’ energy, eating a plant based diet and driving electric cars isn’t going to stop floods, fires and swarms of locusts in the near or not so near future. If you think the oceans are about to rise then sell your Clifton home and move to higher ground. It’s that simple.

Conversely, if you have a home which is a few kilometres inland because you couldn’t afford the price of a coastal home you may well benefit from a sea view if ocean levels rise. Some you win, some you lose.

South Africa certainly did its bit during most of COP26 by having rolling blackouts and consuming far less electricity than would normally have been the case. To those who had the foresight to see where the ANC was leading the country years ago and installed expensive generators or solar panels, an inverter and a bank of lithium batteries these power outages are inconsequential.

But to the vast majority of South Africans they are at best an irritation and at worst a serious threat to people’s livelihoods. The fact that the euphemistically named ‘loadshedding’ jumped from stage 2 to stage 4 at the drop of a hat meant that it was impossible to plan a day.

Even the simple act of driving to an appointment could turn a twenty minute car journey into an hour and ten minutes as a friend lamented to me last week.

Predictably the latest Eskom woes have led to cries for CEO André de Ruyter to either fall on his sword or to be fired. Most of these calls come from the loony left unions who don’t much like the steps he has taken to reduce wastage and root out corruption in the troubled utility.

But an outfit called the Black Business Council (BBC) also wants him gone, presumably because they don’t like the lightness of his skin and they have a better, more malleable candidate waiting in the wings.

If somebody attempted to form something called the White Business Council there would presumably be cries of ‘racism’ and rightly so. In a supposedly non-racial society the BBC shouldn’t even exist.

Last Sunday, André de Ruyter was named Mampara of the week in that fish wrap known as The Sunday Times. Clearly whoever writes Hogarth these days is either a complete moron or is part of the RET plan to destroy the South African economy in readiness for a Venezuelan style rejuvenation.

Of all the really lousy jobs to have in South Africa the head of Eskom has to be the worst. Charged with bashing lots of objectionable heads together and getting our national grid up and running while also placating the climate change zealots would certainly not be something that would get me out of bed in the morning.

And yet de Ruyter has stuck with it, kept the SA public informed as to what is going on (with brutal honesty at times) and put up with all sorts of snide comments on social media and from so called journalists who aren’t worthy to tie his shoelaces.

If ever there was an award for ‘most patriotic South African under siege’ then de Ruyter would win it hands down.

And where is Pres Frogboiler while all these insults are being hurled? Well, if he has been defending the honour of the man charged with keeping the lights on I am unaware of it.

He should have been but he has been busy promising the suckers in the Eastern Cape and KZN that he is going to build them smart cities which will create jobs and bring an end to the legacy of apartheid.

This, presumably, is the same legacy that has caused old buildings in places like Pietermaritzburg and Harrismith to crumble through neglect, for sewage to run in the streets, for rubbish to pile up, for potholes to appear and for countless municipalities to be declared bankrupt.

If the residents of the Eastern Cape and KZN need a timeline for the development of these smart cities maybe they should ask the residents of Alexandra how the 2019 promise of a million new homes is coming along.

If I were de Ruyter I would be out the door like a shot with some appropriate expletives and hand signals to match. I wouldn’t put up with all the crap that goes with trying to run a state owned power company for a bunch of ungrateful cadres. I can’t believe he needs the money or the glory and I am pretty sure he is not internationally unemployable.

So why is he still there? Because he is one of those all too rare people who believe they can make a difference to the future of this country and we are darned lucky to have him and others like him. But it’s possible that even André de Ruyter can be pushed too far in which case it won’t be long before we have our Lebanon moment and Frogboiler’s wet dreams about smart cities remain just that.


Next year Audi are bringing in six all electric vehicles known as the e-tron range. I’m not sure whether South African news is banned in Germany but it does seem very ambitious to bring electric cars to a country with an unreliable supply of electricity.

Hopefully this won’t always be so but the reasons for buying an electric car at the moment are few. For a start there are only four models currently available and the cheapest is the Mini Cooper at a whopping R685000.

Since the SA government has offered no incentive to buy electric vehicles such as reducing the import duty on them the market is very limited at the moment.

The pundits say that prices of electric vehicles will almost certainly come down as there is more take up but that’s another good reason not to buy. Who wants to spend R685 000 on a car that might cost R500 000 a year from now?

However, the real problem is one of practicality. Apart from the unreliable supply of electricity how on earth do you charge this car from home if you live in a sea facing tenth floor apartment in Sea Point? Do you dangle an extension cord outside the building at night?

And suppose you do actually want to drive for more than 400kms? Can you really be sure there will be a charging point that hasn’t been vandalised at your destination fuel stop? This is South Africa after all. Or that the queue won’t be crazy and you don’t mind the 45 minutes it will take to fast charge your car?

Jaguar has vowed to only produce electric cars from the year 2025 and therein lies the real problem. What they’re selling is nothing more than a souped up golf cart. It has no soul. Honestly, what would you rather hear when you’re driving a Jaguar? The howl of the V12 engine on a series 3 E-Type or the virtuous whine of the non carbon emitting model they plan to sell you after 2025. No contest is it?


Of course there is a way to solve two of South Africa’s worst problems in one fell swoop but I doubt whether the boys at Luthuli House would go for it, particularly as it wasn’t their idea in the first place.

We have a huge unemployment problem in this country and idle hands find the devil’s work to do. We are also suffering from a shortage of generating power plus we need some sort of gesture to show the world that we are doing our bit to cut down on fossil fuel reliance and all those deadly emissions.

Nuclear is an obvious answer but it’s expensive and there are not as many dedicated followers of fission around as there used to be.

So why not buy six million bicycles from China, wire them up to a gigantic generator and get the unemployed peddling. After all, they’ve not much else to do and at least it would keep them fit and out of mischief.

I fully expect this proposal to be adopted at COP27 but with absolutely no credit to the genius who thought of it. According to an expert on YouTube if they cycled for eight hours they could provide power for 120 000 homes. It’s a start. Get on your bikes and ride.