Mabuza’s resignation largely welcomed, Outa wants Gordhan to remain

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the resignation of Eskom Chairperson Jabu Mabuza has created an opportunity for government to appoint an independent person at the power utility.

Mabuza resigned after admitting that he had failed to keep his promise that there would be no load shedding before 13 January this year.

The DA says bold steps are required to fill the new key positions with competent individuals at board level.

“This resignation provides a particular opportunity to restructure the board and to introduce a fully independent chairperson in that role. That incoming chairperson requires particular attributes to be able to negotiate and deal with relationship management with the industry regulators, independent transmission grid operators and the National Energy Regulator,” says the DA’s Ghaleb Cachalia.

Meanwhile, EFF President Julius Malema says President Cyril Ramaphosa must expel Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, for misleading the President over load shedding at Eskom.

Malema spoke on the sidelines of his party’s election campaign prior to next week’s by-elections in Schweizer-Reneke in North West.

Malema says Gordhan and his loyalists are the reason for the Eskom debacle.

“He was not deserving in the first place to be the chairperson of Eskom. He’s got no expertise, but because he’s in the faction of Pravin and the President. The President must fire Pravin. The Deputy President was honest and said the President was misled and we saw after the Deputy President said the president was misled, Jabu resigned, a confirmation that indeed they misled the President. Now, the President’s spokesperson dismisses the Deputy president and we hope that action will be taken against these dishonest, factional spokespersons.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has, meanwhile, reiterated its call for the disbandment of the entire Eskom board. It wants competent individuals who will place the interest of the country and its people first, to replace the board.

NUM General-Secretary David Sipunzi says they welcome Mabuza’s resignation.

“As far as we are concerned as the National Union of Mineworkers, the situation at Eskom seems to be worsening every day. Now the excuses that are being made every day that this is due to mechanical problems this and that are unacceptable to us. It was good riddance that he resigned voluntarily.”

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The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is not surprised by Mabuza’s resignation. Outa’s Ronald Chauke says Mabuza has done nothing to alleviate problems at the power utility, since his appointment two years ago.

Chauke says his organisation does not support calls to oust Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, but calls for the restructuring of the Eskom board.

“This has been long overdue that the new boss of Eskom, as appointed in the beginning of 2018, was unable to turn the utility around. However, what we realised was that Mr Jabu Mabuza and his team lacked what we called the technical depth of turning around a utility of Eskom’s magnitude. Hence the call for the board and the minister to resign. We can consider the beefing up or restructuring of the board. We think that Minister Pravin Gordhan has been doing a sterling job.”

In his address at the ANC’s 108 birthday celebrations in the Northern Cape, President Cyril  Ramaphosa gave assurance that government will transform Eskom into an effective and reliable electricity supplier.

Ramaphosa says they are working around the clock to restore the power utility to its former glory.

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