African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile has joined calls for embattled state power utility Eskom to be moved from the Public Enterprises Ministry to the Department of Energy.
In an interview with Eusebius McKaiser on talk radio 702 on Monday, Mashatile said ideally, Eskom should be under the Energy Department, which is run by Minister Gwede Mantashe.
He said, “Ideally, my view is that it should be with Energy because then you have consistency in terms of policy and implementation. That’s the view I’ve held for long.”
‘It brings problems’
Mashatile added, “You have a Minister of Energy, whose responsibility is to sort out energy policy and implementation, but you have another big institution that doesn’t sit with that ministry.
“I think in the long run, it brings problems. It’s something you can’t change immediately, but I think that’s the direction we should move towards.”
On Saturday, former minister Bathabile Dlamini made the same call during an interview on the sidelines of the ANC’s January 8 celebrations.
She said, “Energy must be consolidated. It’s the department of energy that has the programme and a full strategy that is going to be used over many years to ensure that we have enough electricity in the country.”
Ramaphosa says matter to be handled later
In an interview with eNCA on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the issue of whether to move Eskom to the Energy Department can be handled later.
“Once we’ve stabilised Eskom, we should then be able to look at how we synchronise everything – policy process as well as the execution process and see where the two can actually be positioned. So, it’s something that, for me, can be handled as time goes on,” Ramaphosa said.
The President further said the soon-to-be established State-Owned Enterprises Council will debate whether or not to establish an institution similar to Singapore’s Temasek, which oversees SOEs in the Asian country.
He said, “They don’t necessarily have a ministry [for SOEs], they have an entity that runs that. There needs to come a time when we will have a situation like that, but right now, in the transformative stage, we need to bear down everything and makes sure that we move forward.”
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has come under fire from labour federation Cosatu and the Economic Freedom Fighters which have both called on Ramaphosa to fire him.
Some have interpreted the calls to move Eskom to the Energy Department as a way of clipping Gordhan’s influence over it.