'It seems anything related to Eskom is prone to being stolen': De Ruyter on his book being shared on WhatsApp

18 May 2023 - 10:23 By SINESIPHO SCHRIEBER
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Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter's book is being shared on social platforms illegally and the publisher is not happy.
Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter's book is being shared on social platforms illegally and the publisher is not happy.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

“It seems in South Africa anything related to Eskom is prone to being stolen.” 

This is what former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said when asked about illegal sharing of his book on social platforms.

The book, titled Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom, was released on Sunday. Many seem to be interested, but apparently do not want to pay for it. The book retails for R340.

This week, the publisher, Penguin Random House, said it was appalled at the illegal distribution of a PDF copy of the book being shared on WhatsApp Messenger.  

The publishing house warned anyone sharing the book on social platforms illegally is breaking the law, and has 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.”

The company said the distribution of pirated copies infringes copyright and it is unlawful in terms of the Copyright Act..

Penguin Random House CEO Steve Connolly warned the illegal sharing of the book could see its price increase.

“The unlawful sharing of copyrighted works not only hurts PRH as a publisher, but also the many people who have spent countless hours bringing the work to life. This includes the author, proof-readers, fact checkers, designers and the many people who rely on the publishing industry for their livelihood,” Connolly said.

Penguin Random House said PDF copies are available to buy online from retailers.

“We wish to make clear to the public that the only way to obtain an e-book legally is to buy it from an e-book retailer or to borrow it from an authorised e-book library. Any copying or distribution of a pirated e-book, or any forwarding of a link to the pirated e-book, is unlawful.” 

De Ruyter joined the power utility as CEO in 2019 and in the book he writes about corruption which he says is the reason for Eskom’s failure. 


The Sunday Times published an extract of the book.

In the book De Ruyter not only speaks about tender processes but alleges some police officials protected those caught red-handed. 

In Mpumalanga, several cases relating to coal theft and the dumping of stock at dark sites were never prosecuted because a specific senior police officer had personally intervened,” the extract reads. 

Minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan is also named in the book, with De Ruyter saying he raised concerns about political influence in Eskom’s procurement processes with the minister.  

To read Gordhan's response and more takeaways from the book, click on the story below.


Stopping the rot of tender corruption was only one way of sorting out Eskom’s problems. In May 2022, after the reintroduction of load-shedding, I spoke to [public enterprises minister] Pravin Gordhan about what we could do about it. 

'I told him we had to bring back experienced managers, which was code for white managers when one spoke to the government.  

Two-and-a-half years earlier, shortly after I took office, I’d received a touching letter from 72 Eskom pensioners who had held a meeting and were willing to come back to work, saying they wanted to do their bit to help solve the energy crisis. 

When I responded positively, it created a political firestorm. The EFF went ballistic and labelled me a racist. No sooner has a white man taken over than he’s bringing back the old white people, they complained. Pravin Gordhan had no stomach for this fight and instructed me to reject the pensioners’ offer.  

Now, in May 2022, it was interesting to hear the minister of public enterprises singing a different tune.  

“You must do what is needed,” he responded.  

After being afraid of the political fallout in January 2020, the minister was now essentially saying: “So what if the EFF threw their toys?”  

During the same conversation, I lifted the lid slightly on what the private investigators had uncovered. “The problem is Mpumalanga,” I told him. “The corruption and the syndicated crime networks run very deep there.”  

I paused and looked at him, before continuing: “And it goes very high.”  

Without saying anything, he looked me straight in the eye and nodded. 

To read the full extract, click on the story below.

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