‘Politicking won’t help us’: Gordhan responds to calls for De Ruyter to be axed

21 September 2022 - 11:00
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says the challenges facing Eskom are not caused by its current leaders. File photo.
Image: Bloomberg Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan says the challenges facing Eskom are not caused by its current leaders. File photo.

“Let’s get this country working because politicking won’t help us in any way.”

These are the words of public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on calls for Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter to be fired over ongoing load-shedding. 

There have been mounting calls from politicians and the public for De Ruyter and the Eskom board to be fired after the country was plunged into stage 6 load-shedding this week. 

The EFF was among those making the demands, saying the party had warned about the management of the state-owned power utility.

The party said if the board did not step down, it would take “more radical steps to ensure competent, dependable and fit people are in charge”.

Speaking on Newzroom Afrika, Gordhan said calls for who should be fired are not appropriate at this time.

“In terms of speculation about names and who will fire whom, I’m sure each of us has thoughts on that matter and at an appropriate time we can talk about that, but that’s not a debate for now. 

“We must focus our energy on making sure the major enterprises and entities are working, keeping households happy and getting onto their feet at the Eskom level in particular. Let’s get this country working because that’s our priority.”

Gordhan also responded to calls for his removal from office, saying he has served SA for more than 50 years and intends to do so until retirement. 

“When one’s conscience is clear that one has done the best one can, in any particular job, then one can sleep in absolute peace. I have a very good sleep every night although I work very hard during the day and part of the night as well.

“I have served SA for more than 50 years in many different capacities and I intend to do so until I retire.”

The minister previously poured cold water on calls to declare Eskom a state of disaster. 

Gordhan said there was no need to do so because load-shedding was a tool to protect the system from total collapse.

“There should be a distinction between a state of disaster for ‘dramatic effect’ compared to a power system emergency which falls within the purview of the system’s operator. At all times the main imperative is to avoid the total collapse of the grid, as occurred in California and more recently in Texas in the US,” he said.

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