Consolidate Eskom with energy department - ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini

ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)
ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

Eskom should be consolidated with the energy department - ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini believes that should be part of government's rescue plan for the power utility. 

Dlamini, previously the Minister of Women in the Presidency, and Minister of Social Development, was speaking to News24 shortly after president Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the party's 108th birthday statement in Kimberley.

She said while she believed Eskom staff were credible, the power utility needed "technical people who understood the issues of energy to lead the power utility. Bringing just anyone is not going to assist us. We need people that are skilled, people that can assist on matters of energy".

The ANC's birthday event was overshadowed by the Eskom crisis after a new round of load shedding gripped the country.

The blackouts followed an assurance by Ramaphosa in December that no planned load shedding would happen until January 13.

However, days after the country rang in the new year, Eskom announced a new wave of blackouts. 

Dlamini said Eskom could no longer continue to run parallel with Minister Gwede Mantashe's department of energy. 

"Energy must be consolidated. It's the department of energy that has the programme and a full strategy that is going to be used over many years to ensure that we have enough electricity in the country. The issue of energy is important to us because it's about our safety and its about our protection." 

Speaking to eNCA on Saturday afternoon, Ramaphosa did not oppose the suggestion. He said the possible consolidation of Eskom with the energy department is something that can be handled at a later stage. 

"Right now, we have a burning platform. We have got to stabilise that platform. Once we have stabilised it we then move forward," he said. 

The outrage over Eskom's new round of blackouts led to deputy president David Mabuza's statement that Ramaphosa was misled. This culminated in board chair Jabu Mabuza stepping down.

Dlamini applauded Jabu Mabuza's resignation but cautioned that it should not be the focus.

"We should focus and ensure that Eskom does its work of providing services to communities to ordinary people."

In December, Mantashe refused to take blame for any part of Eskom’s woes saying that the State-Owned Enterprise was not under his portfolio. 

"To accuse me of Stage 6, when Eskom is in another ministry, that in itself is just opportunistic. I am not the minister responsible for Eskom," Mantashe told News24 at the time.

"I must be allowed to do my work within my responsibility, complement the work that is done in [the] public enterprise portfolio. Create jobs and create businesses for black people and women."

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