Ramokgopa ‘powerless’ as confusion over who runs Eskom persists

Ramokgopa told ANC NWC that only Gordhan liaises with the Eskom board.

The power struggle over state utility Eskom persists after Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa complained to ANC top brass about his limited powers.

Ramokgopa complained that only Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has insights into the Eskom board, according to the City Press.

The minister faces an uphill battle to end the crippling power cuts, despite his frequent briefings assuring South Africans that he is resolving the energy crisis.

This was evident during a recent session of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), as members questioned the scope and powers of the electricity minister.

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No powers at all?

During his meeting with ANC’s national working committee (NWC) last week, Ramokgopa reportedly complained about his limited powers in the quest to end the energy crisis.

According to the publication, he expressed frustration about the red tape hindering him from fulfilling his duties, adding that he doesn’t have insight into the Eskom board. 

Furthermore, the minister raised concerns about problems with Eskom sourcing power from Mozambique and Namibia. 

Gordhan also appeared before the NWC and is said to have been hauled over the coals about his and the Eskom board’s inconsistent reports on the ongoing power crisis.

Meanwhile, Scopa chairperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa questioned Ramokgopa’s promised bonuses to Eskom employees as an incentive to work during the festive season.

The promise comes after the power utility announced a R24 billion loss in the previous financial year. 

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Power station tour halted

Responding to queries regarding Ramokgopa’s duties, Gordhan said Ramakgopa was appointed as a special measure by President Cyril Ramaphosa to oversee the implementation of the National Energy Crisis Committee’s power plan, and improve the performance of power stations.

Furthermore, Ramokgopa is said to only communicate with the head of generation Bheki Nxumalo through Gordhan, which raised eyebrows among the MPs.

It also emerged that Ramokgopa’s planned visits to power stations were cancelled without any reasons given.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Alf Lees said the cancellation of the power station tour was a clear sign of chaos.

“It is clear that Gordhan was embarrassed and, therefore took action to stop Ramokgopa’s interference in Eskom’s affairs,” he said. 

Seemingly denying that his visits were cancelled, Ramokgopa said his schedule was being revised. 

In response, the NWC instructed ANC NEC to look into the powers of the electricity minister. 

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