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DA wants Ramaphosa to show Mantashe the door

Image of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

24th January 2023

By: Sane Dhlamini

Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor and Researcher

     

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Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has said that if President Cyril Ramaphosa is serious about halting the electricity price increase, he must get rid of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

South Africans and the business sector have spoken out strongly against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) decision to grant Eskom a 18.65% price increase in electricity tariffs on 1 April, this as the country battles loadshedding, which is crippling the economy.

The DA leader pointed out that Mantashe is a major obstacle to an urgently needed reform of South Africa’s electricity sector.

“Without meaningful reform, South Africans will be paying more for electricity either way, whether through price increases or by taking on more Eskom debt. President Ramaphosa must not take South Africans for fools. We all know that either electricity price hikes or taxes are needed to pay for the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) incompetence and corruption, and that the only way to bring real relief is to deal with the incompetence and corruption,” Steenhuisen said.

He wants to see an end to political interference in Eskom, and has suggested that the President fire Mantashe and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan abd replace them with “capable individuals who understand that socialism has failed and that open markets deliver prosperity”.

Steenhuisen also wants Ramaphosa to bring back experienced, skilled engineers to Eskom to help alleviate the energy crisis.

The DA is marching to the ANC headquarters on Wednesday.

In providing solutions to the energy crisis, Steenhuisen is urging government to declare a ring-fenced State of Disaster to exempt the energy sector from obstacles to efficient spending and rapid decision-making such as localisation and race-based procurement and employment legislation.

Furthermore, he suggested ramped up security at all key Eskom sites and harsh punishment for saboteurs.

The DA also believes that unbundling Eskom into separate transmission, distribution and generation entities and opening the market for electricity generation to private power producers will yield a positive outcome.

Steenhuisen also added that the power utility should import diesel directly.

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

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