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FF+ slams Mantashe for saying De Ruyter is not the best person to fix Eskom’s crisis

Energy minister Gwede Mantashe said Eskom’s COO Jan Oberholzer understood the issues at the power utility better than De Ruyter because he is an engineer

25 July 2022 - 14:00
Freedom Front Plus slams mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Freedom Front Plus slams mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER / SUNDAY TIMES

The Freedom Front Plus has come to Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s defence after mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe claimed he does not have the skills to fix the power utility. 

Mantashe, in an interview with the Mail & Guardian, said the embattled power utility needed a “fixer” and De Ruyter was not the right person due to a skills mismatch.

He said Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer understood the issues at the power utility better than De Ruyter because he is an engineer.

Reacting to Mantashe’s comments, Freedom Front Plus MP Wynand Boshoff said he has proven he is not the right minister to help SA weather the energy crisis.

“Mantashe’s statement comes amid increasing pressure on all role players to solve SA’s energy crisis before it turns into a national disaster. He compared De Ruyter to Eskom’s Oberholzer, who, in Mantashe’s view, seems to know exactly what is going on and what needs to be done to turn matters around.

“Mantashe has been serving as the minister of mineral resources and energy since 2019. His appointment was accompanied by optimism and the hope he would take the urgent steps needed to overcome the looming crisis. That hope has since disappointed,” said Boshoff in a statement

He said Mantashe’s solution to the power crisis revolved around coal and natural gas, saying the minister repeatedly reiterated his personal commitment to using coal while his department kept up its attempts to prospect for crude oil and natural gas along the SA coast. 

“What was abundantly clear was that the department under Mantashe’s lead sought solutions in nostalgic illusions of large government corporations and government-sponsored pollution.

“In addition, [President Cyril] Ramaphosa came up with the idea of a ‘second Eskom’ (this time, under Mantashe’s department) as if that minister and that department are known for getting things done,” said Boshoff.

He said Mantashe has already shirked all responsibility with regard to the power crisis because Eskom falls under the department of public enterprises and not his department.

“It is time for minister Mantashe to resign of his own accord instead of making remarks about institutions that fall outside his department,” said Boshoff. 

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