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SACP: Ramaphosa's energy plan will 'destroy' Eskom

29 July 2022 - 15:24
President Cyril Ramaphosa shares a lighthearted moment with SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila during the opening ceremony of the ANC policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on July 29 2022.
President Cyril Ramaphosa shares a lighthearted moment with SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila during the opening ceremony of the ANC policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on July 29 2022.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The SACP has criticised measures announced by the government to increase power generation, likening the energy plan to “destroying” Eskom.

Communist Party general secretary Solly Mapaila on Friday said for a developing country like SA, the government needs to be “rebuilding state-owned entities (SOEs) instead of destroying them”.

“These are instruments of development. If we had them for the sake of having them to facilitate business then they do not serve the purpose of the revolution. 

“We are not completely happy with the framework that has been put in place regarding the rescue of Eskom, because it still [gives] responsibility to the private sector which has no accountability to the people of this country.

“When the people have no electricity they call the government. We need to take responsibility of Eskom so that we are accountable ourselves,” he said.

On Friday the governing party opened its sixth policy conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg — a first under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. 

During the SACP’s message of support, Mapaila called for a more collaborative approach between tripartite alliance partners in the quest to find solutions to the country’s many crises, including the struggling economy, rolling blackouts, the land question and unemployment. 

Referring to Eskom, Mapaila implied that if the ANC had worked with its alliance partners to find solutions to load-shedding, they would have made progress. 

“The alliance have agreed on a comprehensive economic analysis so that when we face challenges we don't blame one another — it is our belief that as a developing country we need to build SOEs [rather] then sell them. We would not be in this situation with Eskom — communities in the dark due to load-shedding,” he said.

The general secretary also implored the ANC to manage internal divisions so it can focus on governing. Mapaila left a mandate for delegates to also unite and finalise the issue of land expropriation without compensation. 

“The land question — it determines whether society is rich or poor, we can't be dilly-dallying on this issue in the face of poverty. 

“We want the ANC to focus on its critical mandate — to rescue the national democratic revolution which is suffering major setbacks and that will require a strong united ANC focusing on issues affecting the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, ANC employees who have not been paid for two months protested outside the conference venue in Nasrec. 

Mapaila told Ramaphosa that he joined them in solidarity — including Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi.

Delivering the union federation’s message of support to the ANC — Losi pledged support for the workers. 

“We need an ANC which pays its employees their salaries in full and on time. We support the plight of the workers at Luthuli House. Outside this conference we have ANC members who are ANC staff, SARS employees who are Nehawu members who are protesting,” she said. 

Losi warned that “capital” was unleashing vicious attacks against the gains of the working class. 

“The federation comes to this conference not just to sharply raise these issues but to ensure that there is a strong working class voice in the policies espoused within the second radical phase of the national democratic revolution and implemented by ANC-led government,” she added.

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