Ramaphosa not worried that Eskom will lead to ANC vote shedding

2019-03-22 17:36
President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigning in Delft in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber/News24)

President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigning in Delft in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa is not worried that Eskom's woes and the accompanying rolling blackouts will hurt the ANC at the ballot box on May 8.

"No, I'm not worried," he told journalists on Friday while campaigning in Delft, one of the impoverished neighbourhoods of the Cape Flats.

"The people of South Africa are being given the full information, and we are being open and transparent," Ramaphosa claimed.

"The challenges Eskom faces emanated from our recent past, and many people are aware that there were a lot of wrong things that were being done in Eskom – the malfeasance, the corruption, the state capture.

"And now we are taking steps to correct all those things.

"Once we are able to put the truth to the people of South Africa, they will decide. They will make their choice."

Ramaphosa said what he is worried about, is that South Africa should be able to have a free and fair election.

"We've always had a free and fair election in the past, so my worries in that regard are reduced."

'We are addressing the Eskom issue'

Ramaphosa said the government was addressing the "the Eskom issue". He said allegations of sabotage were being investigated.

He said Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan reported that they have restored the power line from the Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric power station in Mozambique, meaning there are an additional 900 megawatts on the power grid.

"So, we are addressing the Eskom issue, every day," Ramaphosa insisted. "I'm saying to the whole nation, let's not panic. Let us join hands, close ranks, work together.

"This is a common problem for all of us. We want to restore energy so that the economy can continue functioning. We want to restore energy so that our households can have sufficient energy."

He said people were raising the matter wherever they go, and that was why government was addressing it "on an urgent basis".

"There is nothing more urgent for me than restoring the power, the energy of Eskom once again."

Ramphosa said the Electoral Commission of South Africa is concerned about "load shedding".

"By the time the elections come, this load shedding that is debilitating will have been addressed and the grid will have been stabilised."

While Ramaphosa's security detail had to work hard to keep the president from being mobbed by over-friendly supporters – mostly clad in obligatory yellow T-shirts – Sicelo Lusiti had a question for Ramaphosa: "Where is the geyser now?" 

He claims Ramaphosa promised him a geyser for his house, which he described as a "fake house" because it is built of prefab walls and not brick walls. 

"He [Ramaphosa] comes now. What does he want now?"  

'Kick the DA out of government'

Yet, despite the unfilled promise of a geyser and his "fake house", Lusiti will still vote for the ANC.

"My father and mother was ANC. So I am ANC."

He likens the situation to supporting a football club.

"Whenever Kaizer Chiefs is doing bad, I'm still Kaizer Chiefs."

Ramaphosa didn't go to Lusiti's house.

Ramaphosa was accompanied by among others Police Minister Bheki Cele, deputy ministers Enver Surty, Mcebisi Skwatsha, Mondli Gungubele and Fatima Chohan, and former minister of energy Tina Joemat-Petterson.

Later, the ANC election machinery rolled into nearby Mfuleni – a similarly distressed neighbourhood. 

Here Ramaphosa addressed people from the back of a truck in mostly isiXhosa, but with a few sprinkles of Afrikaans and English. He said the DA says they have the best run provincial government and are the best at everything.

"But when we look closely at the lives of our people, that's when we see that they are a government that does not care for the lives of our people. That is when we see their interests are only for the rich people here in the Western Cape," said Ramaphosa, who is building a mansion on two plots worth R30 million in the exclusive neighbourhood Fresnaye. 

"That is when we see they have no interest at all for the people who live in our townships like Elsiesrivier, Mfuleni and Mitchells Plain.

"That why we say you should vote right and kick the DA out of government… kick the DA out of government! Kick the DA out of government!" he said in Afrikaans, with an accompanying kicking motion of his right leg.

Read more on:    anc  |  eskom  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  politics
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