Politics / 21 January 2020, 06:07am / BALDWIN NDABA AND SIFISO MAHLANGU
Johannesburg - Former Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza's woes may be far from over as some senior ANC members gun for him over the recent load shedding in the country.
It is believed that one of the resolutions that emerged out of the ANC's two-day lekgotla is for "thorough" investigations to be conducted into Mabuza who tendered his resignation early this month.
His resignation followed remarks by Deputy President David Mabuza that Eskom had misled President Cyril Ramaphosa about the real extent of troubles at the power utility.
“The news that up to R11billion (in a boiler tube maintenance contract) was linked to Mabuza's family comes as a shock. Some of us believe that he has completed what he came to do at Eskom. That's why he resigned,” an insider said.
It's unclear how the probe will be undertaken.
In a letter Mabuza reportedly penned to Ramaphosa and his deputy, he said despite assurances by his board and the Eskom management to Ramaphosa that there would be no load shedding, they had implemented it and therefore, the promises Ramphosa made to the nation (based on Eskom’s plans) were not met.
Insiders further said some of the decisions that were taken by the lekgotla was not to sell the SA Airways (SAA) which has since been placed under business rescue.
“The ANC realises that the challenges at SAA started in 2003. The selling of fleet (at the time) was a destructive act. We have agreed not to sell SAA. It is ours and must be protected,” the source said.
The source added that the ANC clearly saw that the state-owned entities (SOEs) were in danger and that the governing party could not sit by and watch.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa warned his party councillors and mayors to clean up their acts in the municipalities or face the axe.
He had also cautioned party members and other interested entities not to politically interfere in the affairs of the SOEs unless those entities were riddled with corruption and malfeasance.
The president made the remarks while closing his party's lekgotla which began on Sunday in Irene, outside Pretoria.
The lekgotla was preceded by the ANC national executive committee meeting held at the same venue on Friday and Saturday.
Ramaphosa said the meeting resolved, among other things, that the commercial and developmental mandate of the SOEs should be clearly outlined, saying greater attention should be focused on ensuring that they were efficient and functional.
“The lekgotla also resolved that fit and proper people should be appointed to hold senior positions in state-owned enterprises.
“We took the view that there is a plethora of SOEs, more than 740 of them. There will be a need to rationalise some of them,” he said.
He added: “The lekgotla also agreed that there should be no political interference in the affairs of the state-owned enterprises unless it is for strategic reasons or there is rampant mismanagement of public funds and corruption in these entities.”
In his address, Ramaphosa made no mention about the future of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan despite calls from certain sections of ANC for Gordhan to be axed.
But, according to Ramaphosa, his party’s two gatherings – the ANC NEC meeting and the lekgotla – did not experience any incidents of political disagreements, walkouts as predicted by “people outside” the ANC.
In another hard-hitting remark, Ramaphosa also warned that his government would not tolerate people and institutions that avoided paying tax, including the illicit cash flow out of the borders of South Africa.
He also had a surprise package for ANC members who were earmarked to be party candidates ahead of the 2021 local government elections. Ramaphosa said his party was going to set standards for party members to qualify as candidates – one of the requirements, he outlined was a minimum “qualification”.
He fell short of saying academic qualification but insiders said that the ANC would now prefer academic qualifications. They said poor performance in ANC-run municipalities was due to the deployment of people with little or no skills in public administration.