In a recent News article, Build One SA Movement Leader, Mmusi Maimane has criticized former Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter for refusing to reveal the identity of a “Senior Politician” implicated in the corruption that the power utility.
De Ruyter appeared before the Parliament Standing Committee on public accounts last week. He told the MP’s, that he, de Ruyter, did not want to expose himself to further Legal Action or security risks by naming the individual.
In reaction, Maimane said that de Ruyter undermined SCOPA with his testimony and stated that “it is unacceptable to refuse to name the Ministers involved in organised crime in Eskom “and the Minister who said we must “allow people to eat””. As a result Mr Maimane opened a criminal case against Mr de Ruyter. De Ruyter in his testimony said that “having regarded the nature
A case in point is the murder, of the late Alexander Litvinenko, who was a British naturalized Russian defector and former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), who specialized in tackling organized crime.
Litvinenko was a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and he advised British Intelligence and also coined the term “Mafia State”.
In November 1998 Litvinenko and several other FSB Officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the assassination of the Russian Oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
Shortly after the aforesaid accusation, Litvinenko was arrested on charges of exceeding the authority of his position, was acquitted in November 1999, but rearrested before the charges were again dismissed in 2000. He then fled with his family to London and was grounded asylum in the United Kingdom where he worked as Journalist, writer and consultant for the British Intelligence Services.
Litvinenko also accused Mr Putin of ordering the assassination of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.
On 1 November 2006, Litvinenko certainly fell and was hospitalized after poisoning with Polonium-210 and he died from the poisoning on 23 November 2006. The events leading up to his death are well documented despite spawning numerous theories relating to his poisoning and death.
A British murder investigation identified Andrey Lugovoy, a former member of Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO), as the main suspect and Dmitry Kovtun, was later named as a second suspect.
In 2002, Litvinenko was convicted in absentia in Russia and given a three and a half year jail sentence for charges of corruption. According to Litvinenko widow, her husband co-operated with the British Security Services working as a consultant and helping the Agencies to combat Russian organized crime in Europe.
In similar fashion as the Litvinenko murder, comparisons have also been made to the 2004 poisoning of Viktor Aushchenko, the 2003 positioning of Yuri Shchekochikhin and the 1978 fatal poisoning of the journalist Georgi Markov by the Bulgarian Committee for State Security.
A close friend of Alexander Litvinenko, Vladimir Kovski said he was angry when Litvinenko publish the damning article about Putin, as he strongly urged him against it. Kovski noted that despite this ferocious hostility towards the Kremlin that Litvinenko still had the mindset of a Security Officer and “could not understand the difference between truth and operational information”.
The same can be said about my Maimane who does not understand the difference between truth and Realpolitic. Realpolitic dictates that if you expose the persons in power, you are putting yourself and the lives of your family and informants at risk.
In South Africa the whistleblower, Babita Deokaran was assassinated on 23 August 2021 while she was returning home from dropping her daughter off at school.
Deokaran was the Acting Chief Financial Officer at the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health and she apparently blew the whistle on a corrupt Covid 19 PPE procurement scandal to the value of $20 million.
Deokaran was a key witness in the investigation to expose a syndicate set up to benefit from State corruption, and she had been on special leave for more than a year prior to her death whilst the investigation was underway.
Following her death, President Ramaphosa stated that more State Protection should be afforded to whistleblowers in the fight against corruption, but it is obvious that very little has been done in this regard.
In 2022, the Daily Maverick published an article on her death stating that: “the impunity culture has split to the extent where murder is the resolution to preventing the exposure of corruption in South Africa in all Sectors. Being a whistleblower has become lethal. The injustice of the assassinations of whistleblowers fuels the sculpture because the political system does not allow for accountability for the gruesome murders. It is a resolution to permanently shut down the witness to the corruption”.
More recently, the Specialist Accountant and Liquidator, the 57 year old Cloete Murray, who was working on the financial accounts of a Company that was heavily implicated in allegedly bribing Government Ministers and others to win huge State contracts, was killed along with his son by an unknown gunman while travelling on one of South Africa's main highways.
Murray was shot in the head while driving with his son in an SUV on the N1 Highway just outside of Johannesburg in March. No one has been arrested in the killings, which Police said had the murder had the hallmarks of a professional hit.
The South African Anti-Corruption Organisation, Corruption Watch, said the killings of the Murrays, was further evidence that the Country faced “a crisis in terms of the rule of law”.
In the last week of April 2023, André de Ruyter, virtually appeared at the Parliamentary hearing, from an undisclosed location because of fear for his safety and said on Wednesday that during the hearing, that unnamed sources who provided him with information feared for their lives. De Ruyter also claimed he survived an attempt on his life when his coffee was laced with cyanide.
Although Mr Maimane may have acted out of real concern for South Africa and his people in criticising de Ruyter, it is clear that his criticism did not make provision for the reality of Politics and the powers that be in South Africa and it would be naive for Mr Maimane to think that Mr de Ruyter will sacrifice the life of his family and himself just for the sake of bringing the truth out in a mafia state which cannot and will not guarantee his safety.