Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has told Sunday newspaper Rapport he had to hire bodyguards following numerous threats on social media over load-shedding.
In response to one of the threats, De Ruyter opened a criminal case of intimidation against EFF Kwa-Zulu Natal leader Vusi Khoza after he encouraged people to hunt the “useless fools” at Eskom and “moer” and “bliksem” them.
“This thing of load-shedding and Eskom will only stop when we stand up,” he stated.
“Find out where they [Eskom employees] stay, their physical address, drag them into the streets and bliksem them,” Khoza continued.
“If that’s instigation, then so be it,” he added.
The Durban High Court served papers to Khoza, ordering that he be interdicted from engaging in several acts against Eskom and De Ruyter.
That included harassment, assault, threats, inciting violence, coming to a staff member’s private home, or acting in any manner that would constitute an infringement of their personal liberty.
In addition, Khoza was interdicted from making any threatening or intimidating gestures on all social media platforms, specifically his individual Twitter pages.
He also had to issue a public statement on Twitter that states he does not condone any of the acts above against Eskom or De Ruyter.
Pursuant to the attached Order of the High Court, I wish to state that I do not condone acts of intimidation and threats, as listed in paragraph 2.1 of this order, directed at employees of Applicant 1 and to Applicant 2. pic.twitter.com/rVQeX1Ez9h
— Vusi Khoza (@vusumuzikhoza) November 12, 2021
Khoza was previously given a three-year suspended sentence for public violence and conspiracy to commit assault.
That was after his involvement in what was believed to be a xenophobic attack on foreigners in Albert Park, Durban, in December 2009.
According to data from the CSIR, load-shedding has been at its worst yet under De Ruyter.
Eskom has previously blamed the performance issues on the lack of maintenance at its power stations in the years’ preceding De Ruyter’s involvement at the company.
De Ruyter has claimed there was fierce resistance against his team’s efforts to clean up the utility from networks of previous corrupt benefactors within the company.
While operational performance has slumped at Eskom during his tenure, De Ruyter is the first CEO in many years who managed to bring down the utility’s debt.