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Pravin Gordhan defends Eskom leadership

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says the challenges facing Eskom are not caused by its current leaders. File photo.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says the challenges facing Eskom are not caused by its current leaders. File photo.
Image: Bloomberg

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has hit back at criticism of Eskom’s bosses, saying the challenges facing the power utility are not caused by its current leaders.

Gordhan was speaking to eNCA at Nasrec, Johannesburg, where the ANC held its sixth annual policy conference at the weekend. 

He said over the past three weeks President Cyril Ramaphosa has been “knocking on all department’s heads” for a solution to deal with the electricity crisis. 

“Each step in this process of getting electricity going or getting this whole plan going has been put through intense scrutiny, not just by us but by him,” he said. 

Gordhan said in about two years’ time load-shedding will be a thing of the past as the ANC focuses on investing in renewable power solutions. 

“We will get through it and the key thing in big companies and big states is the silo effect,” he said.

Previously, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said load-shedding would not be resolved until more capacity was created. 

Mantshantsha told 702  blackouts will continue until there is an additional 4,000MW to 6,000MW of capacity.

“SA does not have enough capacity to generate sufficient electricity for all of us, and that goes back to 2007,” he said.

“You cannot put a time frame.”

According to Mantshantsha, it will take at least 18 months to generate about 1,800MW of new capacity.

Last week, mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe claimed Eskom CEO André de Ruyter does not have the skills to fix the power utility. 

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian, he said the embattled power utility needed a “fixer” and De Ruyter was not the right person due to a skills mismatch.

He said Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer understood the issues better than De Ruyter because he is an engineer.

Reacting to Mantashe’s comments, Freedom Front Plus MP Wynand Boshoff said he has proven he is not the right minister to help SA weather the crisis.

“Mantashe’s statement comes amid increasing pressure on all role players to solve SA’s energy crisis before it turns into a national disaster. He compared De Ruyter to Eskom’s Oberholzer, who, in Mantashe’s view, seems to know exactly what is going on and what needs to be done to turn matters about.

“Mantashe has been serving as the minister of mineral resources and energy since 2019. His appointment was accompanied by optimism and the hope he would take the urgent steps needed to overcome the looming crisis. That hope has since disappeared,” said Boshoff

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