The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Free State province has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to “remove” Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises.
In a statement issued by provincial secretary Reagan Booysen on Thursday, the Free State ANCYL said it had learnt with “shock” of Deputy President David Mabuza’s admission that Gordhan and the Eskom board had “misled” Ramaphosa over load shedding during the festive season.
It said, “We feel vindicated that our longstanding view that Mr. Pravin Gordhan has no interest or the necessary competence to turn around the unfortunate state of affairs in our state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is confirmed on a daily basis.”
‘Gordhan wants privatisation’
It claimed Gordhan wants to “deepen” the crisis in SOEs, especially Eskom and the South African Airways (SAA), to pave way for their privatisation.
“We strongly believe that the misleading of the President was deliberate and a calculated move not only to embarrass the President, but to further create a public hysteria around Eskom’s challenges and prepare for its ‘donation’ to his friends in the private sector,” ANCYL Free State said.
It added, “We call on the President of the country and the ANC to remove Mr. Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Public Enterprises with immediate effect, and appoint a young and competent minister who has the best interest of our country and its people at heart.”
Mabuza kicked off the controversy on Thursday when he admitted during an interview with reporters that the Eskom board and Gordhan had misled Ramaphosa into promising that there won’t be load shedding until 13 January.
Presidency denies claim
However, the Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko later claimed in an interview with TimesLIVE that Ramaphosa had not been misled.
This is because Eskom had not implemented any “planned” load shedding over the festive period, she explained.
“We didn’t see any planned load shedding during December and right now we are dealing with something that has been totally unplanned,” Diko said.
Neither Gordhan nor Eskom has responded to Mabuza’s claim. Eskom continues to load shed at a time when the demand is still low and is only expected to rise in mid-January.
The ANCYL in the Free State is known to be a strong supporter of ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule.
Some of Magashule’s allies, such as MP Bongani Bongo, have claimed that Gordhan is behind a campaign to target ANC leaders who did not support Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign in 2017.