A civil engineer by training, Kgosientsho ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa has been appointed as South Africa’s new minister of electricity, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night.
Ramokgopa most recently held the position of head of investment and infrastructure in the Presidency. However, he entered formal politics as an ANC ward councillor in the early 2000s.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Ramokgopa holds a number of academic qualifications, including a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Durban-Westville (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal), a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pretoria, and a Master of Business Leadership from Unisa.
He also has a certificate in executive development from Stellenbosch University and a PhD in public affairs from the University of Pretoria.
After several years spent running public and private entities, he returned to politics in 2010 when he was elected mayor of Tshwane.
Ramokgopa also served a brief stint in the Gauteng provincial legislature as MEC for economic development, agriculture and the environment under Premier David Makhura. However, he only held that position for less than five months.
It was said that he resigned so that a woman could take his position in line with the ANC's internal rules about gender parity in government structures.
In his address to the nation on Monday night, Ramaphosa said the immediate task of the new minister of electricity was to drastically decrease load shedding in the coming months and ensure that the full action plan was implemented.
Ramaphosa said that the new Cabinet was “determined and committed”.
The primary task of new minister was to severely reduce load shedding and effectively oversee the energy crisis response.
Ramaphosa said that, in addition to declaring the country’s electricity crisis a national state of disaster, he would also authorise Ramokgopa to have authority and control over the energy action plan.
Ramokgopa was also expected to facilitate the co-ordination of numerous government departments and entities, as well as work with Eskom’s leadership to turn around the situation at power stations.
“This minister will remain in office for as long as needed to resolved the energy crisis,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also made other key changes to the Cabinet, including naming Paul Mashatile as the deputy president.