Mantashe warns against Eskom racism accusations

2009-11-10 11:15

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday warned that the

current events surrounding electricity utility Eskom should not be simplified

into a racism issue.

“Everybody must be careful. If there’s a crisis, they begin to be

personal and begin to go to the lowest level of irrationality,” Mantashe told

SABC radio news.

“By beginning to accuse Godsell of being a racist... we know that

is far from the truth. We begin to talk of [Eskom CEO Jacob] Maroga purely on

the basis of blackness. We must focus on the crisis and try and address that

crisis,” said Mantashe.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) hinted at racism after Godsell

announced on Thursday that Maroga had resigned from his position.

But since then, Maroga has returned to his job while Godsell

himself resigned yesterday.

Meanwhile the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has come out in

support of Godsell, saying he was not a racist.

There had been suggestions by the BMF and others that Eskom’s

leadership issue was about racial tension, NUM secretary-general Frans Baleni

told a press briefing in Johannesburg.

“And others have said Bobby Godsell is a racist ... we say there is

no evidence of that,” he replied when asked who had branded Godsell a


“He didn’t apply to Eskom for the job. Godsell was approached by

the ANC government who is the shareholder.”

Baleni said while racism was of great concern to NUM, he did not

support racism being manufactured to suit certain agendas.

“The issue of plain racism, even when there is none, makes it

difficult for all of us to confront real racism where it exists.”

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