Ministers slammed for not talking to ANC

2012-04-07 17:14

The ANC has slammed ministers who sit on its national executive committee for failing to inform the party about crucial decisions taken in government, leaving it vulnerable to attack when those decisions become unpopular.

In its national working committee (NWC) report to the NEC meeting of March 23 and?24, the ANC singled out electricity tariff increases and e-tolling in Gauteng as two of the issues that should have been communicated to the party in order to prepare for a backlash.

The two issues angered the ANC’s ally, trade union federation Cosatu.

“The recent 16% electricity tariff increase, which was presented as a decrease, was decided without the necessary engagement,” the NWC report said.

“It is mistakes like these that open us up to attacks as the leadership collective”.

The ANC resolved to call Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele to “brief the NEC” on plans for an efficient public transport, one of the proposed ways to reduce the burden of paying e-tolls.

“Presently the ANC deals with periodic crises facing this department, be it the BRT system (the Johannesburg bus service) or the taxi issues, and now e-tolling,” it said in the report.

The ANC said communication from ministers should be compulsory.

“Withholding such information weakens the movement, made worse when it is criticised by our allies as evidenced in the majority of cases.”

ANC NEC member and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, whose department oversees state-owned enterprises like Eskom, said there had been no need to consult on the latest electricity increases as they were the last round in a three-year cycle of increases that the National Energy Regulator of SA had approved.

He said the 16% increase was less than the initially proposed 25.9% for the current financial year.

“For that I don’t see why you should consult. It would be a different story if you were increasing it,” Gigaba said.

The ANC’s report also said the 16%, a fourth double-digit increase, was “not sustainable” for the poor.

Gigaba said it was time for the government to start talking to the ANC about the next round of electricity price hikes.

“There must not be anything that is beyond the reach of the ANC to discuss because as the ruling party we must be able to provide leadership,” he said.

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