Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was one of the main speakers at the African Oil Week conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Mantashe spoke to guests and delegates on the topic of maximising Africa’s natural resources in the global energy space.
The minister said: “There is no doubt that Africa is well endowed with oil and gas deposits. The discoveries of oil in Namibia and Côte d'Ivoire and the discoveries of gas in South Africa have not only proven Africa’s endowment, but have also raised the demand for Africa’s renewed investment in refining capacity. It is, however, deplorable that, despite this endowment, the developments around the globe are such that Africa does not benefit from this endowment.”
Mantashe called on all African leaders and business leaders at the conference to have a “frank debate on how best we can ensure that Africa and her people benefit from these deposits”.
THE MICE AT ESKOM AND TRANSNET
Speaking at a media conference after his speech, Mantashe was asked about the leadership vacuum at Eskom and Transnet.
The latest leader to exit Eskom was chairman Mpho Makwana. It was announced on Monday that he had handed in his resignation to Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
Last week Transnet Freight Rail chief Siza Mzimela also resigned, this was a few days after Transnet CEO Portia Derby resigned.
After these two resignations, Gordhan said that the leadership issue will be addressed and that Transnet and Eskom will have leaders to steer the ship shortly.
On the leadership crisis at the state-owned entities, Mantashe used his experience as a miner and compared the leaders abandoning the "ships" to mice in a mine. He noted that in a mine, mice would run when they smelled methane, and as such, the miners would follow.
Essentially, Mantashe argued that perhaps these leaders smelled the “methane” and decided to escape.
“The exodus of black executives is troubling,” Mantashe said.
When pressed on what the “methane” at Eskom and Transnet could be, he said that he had no idea but that it would be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting.