Deputy president David Mabuza was forced to shoulder the backlash stemming from Andre de Ruyter’s appointment as Eskom CEO despite it being a collective decision of the deployment committee.
He also described state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as being in “a state of collapse”, requiring an urgent review of the deployment process and maximum unity of the alliance.
Mabuza was addressing the SA Communist Party’s (SACP) special national congress which is equivalent to the ANCs national general council which serves as a mid-term review of resolutions and policies.
Mabuza spent the bulk of his message of support concentrating on the need to revive ailing SOEs and unity within the tripartite alliance.
He said in no uncertain terms that a “divorce” of the alliance was not an option and “no one is leaving this family“.
“We have decided that we are going to take a retreat to deal with issues of deployment,” Mabuza said.
“I have been criticised in the deployment committee and I have been criticised in the ANC that we are not doing well in the deployment of cadres into strategic positions. The recent deployment of the CEO of Eskom is a case in point and this is a decision that we took in the deployment committee, all of us. People are now quiet and the only person being blamed is the president. The decision to deploy de Ruyter as the CEO is the decision we took collectively,’ Mabuza said.
“We still believe that our program of building a non-racial, non-sexist society should proceed. So it can’t be the ANC, the SACP that will be racial in the approach and in the manner we argue and discuss. We must continuously seek to build the society we envisage for the future. We accept that there are shortcomings in the manner we are deploying cadres and we want to commit ourselves to correct this. The recent challenges facing our SOEs leave much to be desired and we stand ready to confront the weaknesses that are faced by all the SOEs.”
He said that while consulting the alliance on major decisions was the first choice, at times things happened outside of the envisaged plan which required a “tactical change in direction”.
“The decision to put SAA under business rescue is a decision that we took, it is not a decision of the president. We arrived at that decision because of a number of considerations. It is in the best interests of the workers in SAA, and is in the best interest of the entity not to close down. With regard to Eskom, we are mindful of the challenges there. We should take this opportunity to apologise to the public for all the inconvenience because of the challenges in Eskom, we cannot allow Eskom to fail. We will do everything in our power to get Eskom right. We can try and provide every reason behind these disruptions, the bottom line is that we have got power stations that are very old that are close to the end of their life spans. Some are 37 and their life span is 40 years old.”
He said that if a wrong decision was taken outside of the alliance structure he would take full responsibility and committed to resolving it collectively.