Government says it has mandated Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to negotiate with the newly appointed Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter to begin his work at the power utility as soon as possible. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says Eskom was at the top of their agenda at the Cabinet meeting held on Friday.

In a post-cabinet media briefing, Mthembu said it was also decided to reinstate the energy war room to be convened by the Deputy President David Mabuza, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Minerals Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The war room will deal with any energy challenges in the country.

Mthembu says cabinet fully supports efforts to ensure electricity supply certainty in the country. In this regard it has mandated Gordhan to negotiate with newly appointed Eskom CEO to start his work as soon as possible. Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa said sabotage led to the loss of 2000 megawatts at Eskom’s Tutuka power station and that was one of the reasons for the stage six load shedding.

“Mr De Ruyter with the management team will immediately deal with the concerning issues of governance, lack of financial management as well as stabilise operations at Eskom. This includes dealing with huge backlogs of maintenance and the aging fleet of power stations and the structural defects in Medupi and Khusile power stations,” said President Ramaphosa.

Mthembu says the second important matter that Cabinet tackled was issues around South African Airways (SAA).  Cabinet is confident that business rescue at SAA will restore the reputation of the airline and prevent collapse.

“Cabinet has welcomed the appointment of the Business Rescue practitioner Mr Les Matuson from the Matuson Association. As we all know he will work with black partners that will be announced in due course. Minister Gordhan will report progress,” says Mthembu.

Amongst other things, Cabinet approved the Biofuels Regulatory framework and the re-establishment of the National Security Council to streamline the coordination of all security-related work of the country. The council will be chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mthembu explains other approvals by the Cabinet.

“Cabinet approved the white paper on Home Affairs as well as the high-level strategy and road map for repositioning the Department of Home Affairs as a critical enabler for economic development and national security. This takes us closer to e-Government and e-Commerce,” explains Mthembu.

Mthembu says the next Cabinet meeting will finalise and discuss issues around the Gauteng E-tolls

“Do we reduce what we are now paying? And with time it was added something else, like how we improve our road infrastructure and what mechanisms of funding should we be looking at? And we can assure you that when Cabinet meets next time in the new year it will finalise on these issues,” says Mthembu.

Cabinet has also called on motorists to obey the rules of the road and exercise caution, as traffic routes become busy amid the festive season.

“Cabinet calls on all South Africans to observe the rules of the roads as they make their way to their holiday destinations in the festive season. The responsibility to reduce the carnage on the roads lies with every one of us,” says Mthembu.

Cabinet approved the appointment of administrators for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to restore the performance of the organisation. An administrator was also approved to fast track the Broadcasting Digital Migration programme.  Bills passed include the Expropriation Bill 2019, Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill, Auditing profession Amendment Bill and the Victims Support Services Bill of 2019.

Cabinet wishes all South Africans a safe and prosperous festive season.

Watch briefing below: