'We are not calling for a reshuffle, but for accountability' - Cosatu on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan a press briefing. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sowetan/Sebabatso Mosamo)
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan a press briefing. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sowetan/Sebabatso Mosamo)

Trade union federation Cosatu says it is not calling for the removal of Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister, but it is seeking accountability and transparency.

"There is nowhere where we as Cosatu have asked for a reshuffle. We will never call for a reshuffle because that is the prerogative of the president, we have no business asking for that but when we are witnessing the deterioration that we are witnessing at public enterprises - we have to ask for accountability, that is all we are asking for," its spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, told eNCA on Friday.

This after the country was hit by another round of load shedding following a promise the lights would stay on during the festive season. 

Cosatu was responding after the deputy president of the ANC and country, David Mabuza, told journalists in Kimberley on Thursday that President Cyril Ramaphosa was misled when he was told there would be no load shedding before January 13, News24 reported.

"They've misled the president, but right from the day we went there with the president I insisted on maintenance. Maintenance of these power stations is very important," Mabuza told journalists when asked if Gordhan and the Eskom board had misled the president.

Mabuza is in the Northern Cape ahead of the ANC's January 8 rally which takes place on Saturday. 

READ: Gordhan and Eskom board 'misled' Ramaphosa about load shedding - David Mabuza

The trade union federation said it had found the remarks by Mabuza to be "worrying".

"What we are saying as Cosatu is that number 1, when we are listening to a deputy president in the Presidency saying that the president was actually given wrong information, that is worrying because there is a minister who is supposed to be a link between the president and power utility.

"Any time something like that happens then we have to ask the question if it was not the minister that misinformed or gave the president wrong information where was the minister," Pamla said.

He added it was not new for Cosatu to demand accountability as the same consistency was applied with former minister Bathabile Dlamini during the Sassa debacle.

"Cosatu is very consistent about this, we applied this to minister Bathabile and Sassa. When we say this about Gordhan you call it a reshuffle, we are not calling for a reshuffle what we are saying is that we are demanding accountability," Pamla said.

"We want a president who is going to be decisive if we are to believe in the new dawn, all we are saying is go back to the commitment and promise that was transparency and accountability."

On Thursday, Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said they believed there was no "malicious intent" behind the deputy president's comments, News24 reported. 

"I have no doubt that the deputy president did not intend, nor did he infer any malicious intent on the part of the minister nor the chair of Eskom. Indeed, there has not been any planned load shedding as per the commitment that was made by Eskom to the president," added Diko.

Meanwhile, ANC insiders claim the comments have caused friction between Ramaphosa and Mabuza, but national spokesperson Pule Mabe dismissed these claims.

On Friday evening, Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza unexpectedly resigned, the presidency announced in a statement. In the wake of his resignation, Eskom will also get a new board, the presidency said.

"In his resignation letter, Mabuza apologised for Eskom's inability to meet the commitment it made to the president, the deputy president and the relevant ministers at a meeting on December 11th 2019 to avoid load shedding over this period," the presidency said, according to Fin24. 

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