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2023-02-19 at 18:11 #394199Nat QuinnKeymaster
Head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the South African Presidency, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, is tipped to be the President’s preferred candidate for Minister of Electricity.
However, City Press reports there are two options available to Ramokgopa — apply for the Eskom CEO position or put his name in the had for Minister of Electricity.
Although no decision has been made yet, the report states President Cyril Ramaphosa favours Ramakgopa for the position he announced during his 2023 State of the Nation address (Sona).
The former City of Tshwane mayor could also put his name in the hat for the Eskom CEO position when André de Ruyter leaves the utility on 31 March 2023.
De Ruyter notified Eskom board chairman Mpho Makwana of his decision to resign in December 2022.
Ramakgopa has a BSc degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in public affairs. The Investment and Infrastructure office head recently posted scathing criticism of South Africa’s current energy scenario.
“In terms of the state of energy, it is no longer a crisis but rather an emergency,” he wrote.
“The country’s inability to provide sustainable and reliable sources of power has long posed an immediate risk, with the situation drastically deteriorating on a daily basis.”
It is unclear when Ramaphosa will appoint the new minister.
Ramaphosa said the Minister of Electricity to the Presidency would assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response.
He said the minister would help South Africa “deal more effectively and urgently with the challenges that confront us”.
“The Minister of Electricity will focus full-time and work with the Eskom board and management on ending load shedding and ensuring that the Energy Action Plan is implemented without delay,” he added.
The government is faced mounting criticism and legal action from several entities since his announcement of the new ministerial position and the declaration of a state of disaster over electricity.
These include the Democratic Alliance (DA), which previously favoured a “ring-fenced” state of disaster, Solidarity, and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).
Outa filed an urgent application asking the Pretoria High Court to overturn the national state of disaster over load-shedding on Thursday, 16 February 2023.
It said the declaration of a disaster over electricity supply constraints is “irrational, arbitrary, and unlawful”.
Outa executive director Stefanie Fick says the ANC’s mismanagement doesn’t justify declaring a state of disaster. A disaster grants officials extraordinary power to make decisions without parliamentary oversight.
“If the decision to declare a national state of disaster due to this self-created crisis by the government is allowed to stand, it will open the floodgates for further such disasters to be declared in various other sectors that suffered from similar dysfunction, mismanagement, and corruption,” she said.
Trade union Solidarity served court papers to have the state of disaster over electricity declared unlawful on Tuesday, 12 February.
It said the electricity crisis doesn’t meet the definition of a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
The trade union also said there is existing legislation that can be used to manage the crisis and that there was improper political interference in declaring it a state of disaster.
Shortly after Ramaphosa’s address, DA leader John Steenhuisen announced that the party would challenge the national state of disaster to address South Africa’s energy crisis in court.
“The DA can confirm that we have already briefed our lawyers to challenge the announcement in court,” he said.
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