David Mabuza backs De Ruyter despite power cuts and 'dead horse' comment

18 November 2021 - 17:14
Deputy President David Mabuza has come out in support of embattled Eskom boss Andre de Ruyter. File photo.
Deputy President David Mabuza has come out in support of embattled Eskom boss Andre de Ruyter. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

Deputy President David Mabuza has backed Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter amid calls for his sacking over rotational power cuts.

The power supply has been unreliable for the better part of a month, with stage 2 load-shedding returning on Wednesday afternoon after a few days' respite.

Unions - including those affiliated to the governing ANC, such as the National Union of Mineworkers - commentators, and some political parties have called for De Ruyter's dismissal.

De Ruyter angered many when he said he would not resign of his own accord and referred to Eskom as a dead horse.

“There’s this lovely saying ... that you can flog a dead horse, and you can go one step further and change the jockey ... but that won’t solve the problem. It's more important to have continuity in management rather than to fall back into the trap that Eskom has been in over the past 10 years when we had 11 CEOs. This contributed to the instability in the organisation,” he said during a media briefing last week.

He has since apologised for the comments. 

On Thursday, in response to a question by EFF MP Brenda Mathevula in the National Council of Provinces, Mabuza came out in support of De Ruyter.

Mathevula asked Mabuza about De Ruyter's performance and his “dead horse” comment.

But Mabuza spoke glowingly of De Ruyter's leadership capabilities.

“As someone sitting in meetings with these people and listening to all problems and follow-ups, I can tell members that in the person of the CEO you have got a very good manager there.

“But, remember, you have brought this manager into something that is ailing, something that is unstable, something that is collapsing. And for the very fact that, yes, we have got load-shedding, but he still keeps the lights on and is trying very hard ... I think we should give praise where it is deserved. I think we must commend him for the work done,” said Mabuza.

However, as a country, SA could not live with load-shedding forever. 

“Eskom should be assisted to find a partner so that they can have resources to add to their power generation. That is, put new power stations [in place]. If they can put more, three or four power stations, that can stabilise our problem once and for all,” he said.

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