The African National Congress (ANC) says state-owned enterprises will top the agenda of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and Lekgotla in Irene, outside Pretoria, this weekend.

Eskom’s failure to keep the lights on resulted in the power utility’s board chairperson Jabu Mabuza’s resignation last week. Eskom has been accused of misleading President Cyril Ramaphosa on load shedding.

Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been appointed as interim chairperson of the Eskom board. Makgoba, a scientist, joined the Eskom board as a non-executive director in 2018.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “Key among the issues that will be discussed is what we have already written out. Remember when we issued a statement, welcoming the resignation of Ntate Jabu Mabuza, we also said that the NEC that will be sitting including the Lekgotla would have high on the agenda – the issue of Eskom, to also assess if SOEs are indeed delivering on what they are expected to be doing.”

Reaction to Makgoba’s appointment

There has been a widespread reaction to the appointment of Makgoba. Nick Binedell, director of the Gordon Institute of Business at the University of Pretoria says unlike Mabuza, Makgoba is neither a business leader nor an energy expert.

“We do not have many experts, global or South African, who really understand that massive complexity of running a big power station and I was looking at the numbers for Medupi and Kusile, I mean it’s just astonishing amounts of numbers. Hundreds of billions of rands of our money have been misspent and they are not productive and they are not working, and we haven’t done the maintenance. These are massive management questions.”

‘Decisive act’ 

Meanwhile, Political Analyst Lukhona Mnguni believes the ANC is weak and the government is failing to make act decisively under President Cyril Ramaphosa. Mnguni also says Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s performance has been dismal, with Eskom failing to generate electricity and SAA in shambles.

“Even with issues such as Eskom, because the President doesn’t want to accept perhaps that the person in charge of the state-owned enterprises, the Minister Pravin Gordhan has not done an excellent job and he needs to review where his challenges have been specially given that there’s been some time for reforms, there have also been complaints either from board members or resigning executives that there is a sense of interference. There must be political responsibility taken.

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