Ramaphosa must grow a spine and empower his Electricity Minister

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
24 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

The appointment of the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, is beginning to look more and more like a damp squib.

President Ramaphosa’s announcement of the new Minister of Electricity appointment was made in an attempt by him to assure the South African public that he and his Party were serious about addressing the loadshedding crisis. The Minister of Electricity is, apparently, tasked with exactly this.

However, it is becoming more and more apparent that the position was created purely to appease us and not as a genuine solution to the problem. If President Cyril Ramaphosa was serious about holding Ramokgopa to account to solve South Africa’s untenable electricity crisis, he would have already gazetted the responsibilities of Ramakgopa’s portfolio so that the new Minister was empowered to do his job.

Reports of a turf war between Ramokgopa, Pravin Gordhan and Gwede Mantashe are clearly the consequence of this indecisiveness and lack of action by the President.

Why is it so hard for the President to clearly set out the responsibilities of these three ministers?

In addition, Ramaphosa should publish Ramakgopa’s performance contract so that South Africans can hold him to account for the ongoing loadshedding crisis. What we have now is a Minister who is working in a vacuum while the economy is being sucked dry due to the unrelenting loadshedding.

Ramakgopa’s plan to end loadshedding, released this weekend, is an uninspiring laundry list to buy time and hope for the best. Hope is not a strategy. What the country needs now more than ever is a clear and sustainable plan that will reduce loadshedding and provide a pathway to a sustainable electricity supply.

Parliament must play its part and establish a parliamentary ad-hoc committee to ensure that Ramakgopa is directly accountable to Parliament. The DA has submitted a motion to this effect, and we urge all parties represented in Parliament to lend their support.