Eskom to fall under control of Gwede Mantashe’s Department of Energy

SA mines minister, Gwede Mantashe

SOUTH Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy would take over responsibility for overseeing Eskom, the state electricity utility, said Bloomberg News citing comments by the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is in line with a resolution adopted by the African National Congress at its national conference last week in which it was decided state companies operating in specific economic sectors should be overseen by the relevant government departments, said the newswire.

“It is a clear mandate from conference,” Ramaphosa was quoted as saying. “The resolution will be implemented,” and the government will decide how and when it will be done.

Bloomberg News said the resolution could signal a dissolution of the Department of Public Enterprises which currently oversees Eskom as well as Transnet, the state’s rail and ports utility.

The newswire added that a change in the oversight of Eskom may raise concerns among some investors as Gwede Mantashe, the minerals and energy minister, has been opposed to the transition of the economy to green energy.

Mantashe has also been a vocal critic of outgoing Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter. In December, Mantashe likened the continued failings at the government-owned power utility, Eskom to an attempted coup of his government. “Eskom must attend to this problem. By not attending to load-shedding Eskom is agitating to overthrow the state,” he said.

However, several previous resolutions taken years ago by the ANC are still work in progress, and Ramaphosa warned that the party’s latest policy decisions will take time to implement. “Things in government move very slowly, I have learned,” he said.