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MPs to grill President Cyril Ramaphosa on Eskom

President Cyril Ramaphosa will answer questions in parliament on Thursday afternoon. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will answer questions in parliament on Thursday afternoon. File photo.
Image: Jaco Marais

When President Cyril Ramaphosa appears before parliament on Thursday afternoon, he will have to tell the house exactly what he has done to end load-shedding.

In September Ramaphosa, who was in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, cut short his trip due to the worsening power cuts in South Africa. After the funeral he was expected to attend a UN General Assembly meeting in the US, but instead international relations minister Naledi Pandor attended.

At the time presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Ramaphosa rushed home “because he wanted to infuse and add a sense of urgency in the resolution of the current problems”.

In his question to Ramaphosa EFF leader Julius Malema said considering the recent round of load-shedding, which lasted for more than a month and forced the president to cut short his overseas trip, “what has he found are the full relevant details of the causes of the specified blackouts?” 

Malema also wanted to know: “Considering that the current chief executive officer of Eskom, Mr André de Ruyter, has been at the helm since 2019, he has considered that a change in the leadership at Eskom may be needed to secure energy stability in the republic? If not, why not? If so, what are the relevant details in this regard?”

The DA's John Steenhuisen quizzed Ramaphosa about his weekly newsletter published in September wherein he acknowledged that load-shedding had dire consequences on South Africans.

“The government will set an example for businesses, households and other sectors of society by paying for usage of electricity to enable Eskom to undertake the critical maintenance that is needed to keep the lights on. If not, what is the position in this regard? If so, what are the relevant details?” asked Steenhuisen.

In July Ramaphosa unveiled the government's plan to “fix Eskom and improve its existing fleet of power stations”. The plan included cutting red tape that has made it difficult for Eskom to buy equipment for repairs. 

At the time he said Eskom would construct its “first solar and battery storage projects at Komati, Majuba, Lethabo and several other power stations which will result in more than 500MW being added to the system”.

Eskom, he said, was in the process of recruiting skilled personnel, some of whom are former employees who left the parastatal for overseas companies. 

A national energy crisis committee, led by director-general in the presidency Phindile Baleni, was established to unlock policy and implementation blockages, streamline decision-making processes and eliminate any red tape. 

In September public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan made sweeping changes to the Eskom board, appointing business leader Mpho Makwana as chair. 

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