Don’t call the ANC thugs: we want to fix Eskom, Gordhan tells Parliament

  • Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government and Eskom are working hard to tackle South Africa’s energy crisis.
  • Gordhan said the ANC had “honest and patriotic” people who wanted to see Eskom transformed and face load reduction.
  • Most of the opposition MPs during Thursday’s debate blamed the loss of cargo at the foot of the ANC.

While Parliament’s urgent debate on the crisis in Eskom kicked off in March, long before the entity’s delegation withdrew from a committee meeting in the legislature, the debate fell well under the specter of a looming question: who is really to blame for the chaotic state of Eskom?

Ironically, the debate was sponsored by the Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who horns blocked with Eskom Busisiwe board member Mavuso last month after refusing to let Eskom’s board become “the fallen boy” over the entity’s deeper issues.

LIGHT | “Impunity is no longer an option” – Eskom, NPA steps up team effort to resolve state capture cases

Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan, also in attendance at the National Assembly debate Thursday afternoon, admitted Wednesday afternoon that South Africa’s current load shedding could increase to step 8.

During Thursday’s debate, Gordhan said that while South Africa currently has no energy security, the ANC-led administration has pledged to ensure there will be energy security and a long-term transformed Eskom from 2018.

“The government and Eskom are working to resolve the energy crisis in this country and I can assure members and South Africans that many people are working very hard. It will take time, resilience and many obstacles along the way.” Gordon said.

READ | There is no need for a “state of disaster” for Eskom, we can go all the way to stage 8 of shedding cargo: Gordhan

Gordhan said the government was introducing a new generation capacity through private and public investment. He said the coal fleet stations were old and deteriorating, but maintenance with the assistance of private contractors was possible.

No mention of the Guptas

Gordhan criticized lawmakers for failing to mention the role of the Gupta family in causing the power firm’s financial, operational and government ruin. He added that Eskom was not broken or dysfunctional and that the ANC-led government would solve the entity’s challenges.

“There are many honest and patriotic South Africans who are members of the ANC, just like any party. These are people who want Eskom to function well and want the criminals who mined Eskom to end up in orange overalls. So don’t call us thugs, don’t. we are. We want to fix Eskom. ”

– Pravin Gorhan

Hlengwa said even when he started the debate in March, South Africa was recovering from Eskom’s woes, facing 26 days of load shedding and at least 100 days of continuous blackouts expected in the winter.

“Eskom estimates that reducing the load costs the economy R500 million per phase per day. Eskom has become a dirty word in every family in our country because this entity is unable to carry out its mandate,” said Hlengwa.

“National embarrassment”

Hlengwa called Eskom “a national and international embarrassment”, adding that South Africa’s economy could no longer continue to fail because of Eskom. He said South Africa needs to pursue alternatives to coal.

“Year after year, this house stamps billions in bailouts. During the budget speech, the finance minister said the government has pledged to support Eskom with Rand 29 billion. What did these billions bring us?” Hlengwa accused.

READ | Eskom worker arrested for stealing parts of scrap metal pylons

ANC MP Mikateko Mahlaule accused the DA and IFP of working together to wrongly define the nature of Eskom’s various challenges. He said the district attorney gets power from independent energy producers (IPPs) in terms of the policy of the national government in which he governs.

Deputy District Attorney Kevin Mileham urged the government to source power from PPIs and remove remaining barriers for authorities to supply from independent producers.

“We cannot afford to wait if we are to tackle poverty and unemployment in South Africa. It is time for the government to step out of the way and let businesses do what it has not been able to do, which is to empower the people of the South. Africa, ”Mileham said.

EFF MP Omphile Maotwe said Eskom should have the power and discretion to negotiate its own prices and operating costs, otherwise South Africa will continue to bury billions a year in a bottomless pit of rising costs. and Eskom’s huge debt.

Maotwe urged the government to stop the “wrong and corrupt” demolition of Eskom and fire Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter and Eskom CFO Jan Oberholzer.

Freedom Front Plus MP Wouter Wessels said monopolies never suffer losses unless owned by an ANC-led government. Wessels complained that less electricity has been produced since 2008 while Eskom employs more and more staff.

Looting, corruption remain endemic

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said looting and corruption remain endemic and law enforcement will be responsible for making sure those who swindled the South Africans and Eskom have to end up in “orange suits”.

GOOD Party MP Brett Herron said competence is key intervention if the government hopes to improve Eskom’s operations, maintenance and accountability.

“According to the Department of Public Enterprises and Eskom, South Africa has managed to export large amounts of energy. Today we don’t know how much diesel we are burning or if we are even exporting electricity. We just know that we are currently experiencing the worst levels of load shedding ever recorded. “said Herron.

National Freedom Party MP monsoor Shaik Imam condemned the standing committee on public accounts, although he thanked Hlengwa for apologizing to the Eskom delegation for the debacle involving Mavuso. He agreed with Swart that law enforcement should start arresting the people involved in the destruction of the entity.

DA MP Belinda van Minnen defended Mavuso’s decision to criticize the ANC for the state of Eskom, even in the face of indignation and horror from ANC MPs. “This particular criminal enterprise [the ANC] it’s a huge part of what’s wrong with Eskom, ”van Minnen said.

Deputy District Attorney Ghaleb Cachalia said it took “courage” for Mavuso to point out that the ANC was responsible for the crisis in Eskom. However, he said, no action was taken to change the situation as Gordhan gave South Africa a “cheerful” indication that the shedding could go all the way to stage 8.

“The mafia wears many hats, but the colors are always the same. Black, green and gold. You cannot rely on who caused this crisis, by commission or by omission, to solve it. You squandered the past, sold the present and mortgaged the future, “Cachalia said.

ANC MP Judith Tshabalala quoted former president Nelson Mandela in defense of the ANC and said, “Don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I’ve fallen and got up.” You said South African society and parliament should take “collective responsibility” to save Eskom.

Get the greatest business stories sent by email every day of the week.

Go to Fin24 on the front page.