Picture: Supplied/DA

Johannesburg - Deputy President David Mabuza cannot be entrusted with leading the team meant to resolve South Africa's biggest energy crisis, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

South Africans across the country had had to endure rolling blackouts once again after Eskom plunged South Africa into darkness this past week by declaring Stage four load shedding, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said at the unveiling of a DA 2019 elections billboard in Johannesburg.

The DA's billboard served to highlight how the "failing ANC has mismanaged the once world-class power utility by besieging it with corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, and debt", he said.

The previous management teams at Eskom had "plundered the crippled state-owned entity through pre-paid coal contracts, nepotism, inflated supply contracts, and exorbitant consultancy fees" with various companies.

"Furthermore, Eskom executives have consistently rewarded themselves with massive bonuses and salaries. These actions have hollowed out the entity and left it in financial ruin," Steenhuisen said.

This past week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Mabuza would lead a special cabinet committee that served to preside over this crisis. 

"Deputy President Mabuza has single-handedly turned Mpumalanga into a failed state during his tenure as the premier. He can hardly be entrusted with leading the team that is meant to resolve the country’s biggest energy crisis. This move is indicative of a president who is constrained by the different factional powers within the ANC. He clearly works for the ANC and does not lead it," Steenhuisen said.

Currently, Ramaphosa’s proposal was for Eskom to be unbundled into a holding company with three separate business entities to be owned entirely by the holding company. This plan meant that each of the three entities would have the same holding board. Thus, the intention to stimulate competition in the generation sector of Eskom would be limited by the fact that the entities were not wholly independent or competitive. They would continue to be state-owned. The monopoly would continue, he said.

"Load shedding has significant consequences for our economy and the productivity of small businesses in particular, which have suffered the biggest blows due to the blackouts. South Africa loses R2 billion a day due to power failures. It is safe to say that load shedding leads to job shedding.

Through the DA's proposed “cheaper electricity bill”, Eskom would be broken into two separate entities, namely into a generation and transmission entity. "Our offer would see the generation entity privatised in an effort to break Eskom’s monopoly, allowing independent power producers to compete on an equal footing in the generation sector.

"Well-functioning metros will be able to source energy directly from independent energy suppliers. With the splitting off of the generation component of Eskom, they could look at selling off power stations to different IPPs in order to settle their debts. The DA plan would amount to real change, not merely the addition of more board members," Steenhuisen said.

African News Agency (ANA)