Pressure is mounting on President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the nation on the on-going power outages that are ravaging the country.
On Wednesday, IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said President Cyril Ramaphosa should break his silence and address the nation on the ever-growing crisis with Eskom and load shedding.
“At what ‘Stage’ will the president feel prompted to speak to the people of South Africa? At what ‘Stage’ will he step in, step up, and provide the urgent solutions this swiftly unfolding calamity deserves?” Hlengwa asked.
He said, with South Africans forced to spend almost 12 hours a day, over the past few days, without electricity, the IFP could confidently state that Eskom was most certainly not meeting expectations.
“Rather, it is spectacularly failing to deliver on its most basic mandate: to keep the lights on,” Hlengwa said.
Last week, the UDM wrote to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, requesting a debate of national importance, while the DA called on Ramaphosa to address the nation on the specific details and associated timelines contained in his Cabinet’s proposed electricity emergency intervention.
Hlengwa charged that load shedding was clearly a national crisis of epic proportions, with a debilitating socio-economic impact.
He noted with concern that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan still threw his full support to embattled Eskom.
In a response to a Parliamentary question, Gordhan said the power utility’s two top officials, CEO Andre de Ruyter and chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer, were performing well beyond their performance agreements.
“I have got confidence in the Eskom CEO and management to turnaround Eskom’s generation performance and reduce the load shedding that is affecting our economy,” the minister said in his Parliamentary response.
Hlengwa also said the National Treasury committed, in February, another R21.9 billion to Eskom in 2022/23 – yet there was more extreme load shedding than ever before.
“It is apparent that there is an absence of leadership – both politically and administratively. The minister, the Eskom board, and its executives are not fit-for-purpose,” he said.
“As the IFP, we are demanding consequences. The Department of Public Enterprises must be dismantled, and all entities must be placed in their line function departments,” Hlengwa said.
He also said Eskom’s stranglehold on the country’s electricity supply should be broken down.
“Public-private partnerships must be fast-tracked, and municipal capacity strengthened for the distribution of electricity. Red-tape and other administrative obstacles hampering IPPs (independent power producers) from delivering must be removed,” added Hlengwa.