African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile has come to the defence of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who faces growing calls for his removal as minister.
Labour federation Cosatu and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are among those who have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Gordhan over Eskom’s persistent load shedding. Eskom falls under Gordhan’s ministry.
Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser on talk radio 702 on Monday, Mashatile said Eskom’s problems are systemic and shouldn’t be blamed on Gordhan.
‘Any other person can fail’
He said, “I think the problems of Eskom are systemic and this stems from many years of mistakes of planning. Any other person can easily fail there even if it’s not Pravin.”
Mashatile said while Eskom has increased electricity supply to more than 90 percent of South Africans since 1994, there was a delay in building new power stations.
This means the old power stations are experiencing frequent breakdowns at a time when the new ones are yet to be fully brought online, he added.
He further stated, “You can move a new person there and that person will fail. So what do you do – keep changing ministers? Deal with the problem.”
‘Cabinet reshuffle should not focus on Pravin’
Mashatile also said should there be a Cabinet reshuffle by Ramaphosa, it should not be motivated by just one individual.
He said, “I think a Cabinet reshuffle should not focus on one or two individuals. I think it must [be] based on a proper assessment by the President.
“If we just focus on Pravin because Cosatu has made the call or somebody is irritated by him, I think we’ll miss the point.
“I think we should allow the President to do a thorough assessment of the performance of government and look at the capacity of the state and then he will take a decision.”
In an interview with SABC News on Saturday, Ramaphosa said taking action against Gordhan was not his immediate priority.
He said, “We need to focus on how we can deal with the Eskom problem and reposition it. That, for me, is the priority. Other matters are matters that we need to focus on at a later stage.”
To listen to a podcast of the interview, click here.