Proudly sponsored by

South Africa’s energy crisis, jobs top ANC’s priority list

‘There is no doubt in my mind that we will restore Eskom,’ says Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Image: GCIS

Solving South Africa’s energy crisis, creating jobs and speeding up land redistribution will top the ruling party’s priority list this year.

The country must step up the introduction of new electricity generation by private companies and find new sources of energy, President Cyril Ramaphosa said at an event held to mark the 108th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress on Saturday. Despite plans to split state-owned power utility Eskom into three separate businesses, the company will not be privatised, he said in a speech delivered in the central town of Kimberley.

The utility has been one of the biggest challenges Ramaphosa has faced since he ascended to the ANC leadership in late 2017 and was appointed as president three months later. The party has fallen short on previous pledges to ignite economic growth and tackle a 29% unemployment rate, mainly because Eskom can’t generate enough power from its old and poorly maintained plants to meet demand.

While Ramaphosa has repeatedly given reassurances that energy constraints are being addressed, Eskom has intermittently instituted rolling blackouts to prevent a collapse of the grid. The utility also faces leadership challenges, complicating its turnaround. Jabu Mabuza resigned as chairman on Friday, four days after Andre de Ruyter started as the new CEO.

The government won’t allow Eskom to fail, Ramaphosa said. The utility is saddled with debts of about R450 billion and depends on state bailouts to operate, weighing on public finances.

“Eskom is too big to fail,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will restore Eskom.”

The economy is at risk of falling into recession after shrinking 0.6% in the third quarter. The contraction has placed the government’s already strained finances under further pressure and raised odds that the country will lose its sole investment-grade rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

Read: Moody’s leaves South Africa teetering on brink of ‘junk’

Land expropriation

The ANC has also been riven by internal power struggles, which have left it deeply divided, and Ramaphosa’s tenuous hold on the party have constrained his ability to institute planned reforms, including cutting the state’s wage bill and selling some of its assets. He’s also come under pressure to implement ANC resolutions to change the constitution to make it easier to seize land without compensation and nationalising the central bank — plans that have spooked investors.

The country will move ahead with expropriating land without compensation, Ramaphosa said. This will be done lawfully and in a manner that will boost economic growth and sustain food security, he said.

Ramaphosa will spell out how his administration will implement the ruling party’s directives when he delivers his annual state-of-the-nation address in parliament on February 13. The ANC is due to assess the progress the party has made since Ramaphosa was elected as its leader at a conference in late June.

Africa’s oldest political movement has dominated South African politics since white-minority rule ended in 1994. Its support slumped during Jacob Zuma’s scandal-tainted, nine-year rule and it lost control of several cities including Johannesburg, the economic hub, and Pretoria, the capital, in a 2016 municipal vote.

The party easily retained its outright majority in national elections in May last year and regained control of Johannesburg in December after the informal opposition coalition that was running the city unraveled.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS   13

Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.

SIGN IN SIGN UP

So if he has decided to go ahead with EWC what is the point of asking for public comment? WHY WASTE THE TIME AND MONEY!!!

Oh I take it he was talking to ANC voters. So you tell them what they want to hear??

Unfortunately it does not do his and his “Party’s” credibility any good.

Like everything else they touch it will turn into a disaster.

wow…same old…what people see in CR including SA Business who made him a billionare amazes me…clueless…a case of in the right place at the right time

Will this be the start of a civil war??

Maybe if the ANC stopped prioritizing jobs there would actually be more employment?

Wow. If this is an ANC priority it is sure to be the kiss of death.

Looks like we are headed for another “wasted 10 years”. If SA can last that long!

For crying out loud.
1. Make 10MW solar licence free
2. Get the current solar and wind and any other IPP to put their curtailed power (800 MW??) On the wires at 10 – 30c/kWh.

Stop all the rhetoric and just DO IT

never…ANC elite will loose coal contracts from the mines they own

what a chop, he spent 5 years as head of the Eskom warroom plus two years as the pres and nothing????? No doubt, sue none at all.

Best go back to being a trade union leader, your members were mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed s**t.

Would love to see a graph of all the “jobs” created since 1994 vs the population since 1994.
Any statisticians out there??

“Eskom is too big to fail,” he said

Unfortunately South Africa is not. No one will lift a finger if it slides into the sea tomorrow.

The year has just started and the ANC old guard is already tired and without energy.

The current ANC is like the black holes from outer space that sucks up all energy and light. Here the life is being sucked out of the country and the economy by the ANC.

Strange to think that the ruling party is destabilizing the very country that it is supposed to rule.

And then the destabilizing factions are kept in the party under the guise of “unity”?

It is clear and painfully obvious to all (excluding those responsible) that this essential service is being abused by corruption and racism. Vital human resources have been discarded due to racism and the competence has not been replaced.
The financial abuse of this essential service has been obvious and expanding for decades. It is beyond belief.
And now we have yet another ANC President that is giving only lip service whilst the essential service is literally driven to total destruction.

End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR

Podcasts

NEWSLETTERS WEB APP SHOP PORTFOLIO TOOL TRENDING CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: