‘Disingenuous and dishonest’: Steenhuisen slams Gordhan’s attempts to end loadshedding

DA leader John Steenhuisen called for public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to step aside. File photo.
DA leader John Steenhuisen called for public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to step aside. File photo.
Image: Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images

DA leader John Steenhuisen has slammed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan’s attempts to instruct Eskom to end high levels of loadshedding, saying it is disingenuous and dishonest.

Pressure has been mounting on Gordhan and the Eskom board to take action against CEO André de Ruyter after the country was again plunged into stage 6 loadshedding last week.

After moving to stage 4 on Saturday morning, load-shedding was back at stage 5 in the afternoon after breakdowns at Hendrina, Kendal and Kriel power stations.

Gordhan attributed the frequency of breakdowns to malfunctioning within Eskom systems and possible sabotage.

“Power cuts are having a devastating effect on households and livelihoods, investment and economic climate. This is totally unacceptable. The frequency of breakdowns is certainly attributable to some element of malfunctioning within the Eskom systems and possibly sabotage as well,” he said

“What a pathetic figure Pravin Gordhan has become,” said Steenhuisen.

“His attempts to ‘instruct’ Eskom to end stage 6 load-shedding are disingenuous and dishonest. As [a] minister, the buck stops with him and he is now going around trying desperately to pass it.”

Steenhuisen called for Gordhan to step aside.

“It is his weak leadership coupled with his insistence of clinging to the ANC’s failed ideology that has left us in the dark. Every year, he and his party promise to end load-shedding and every year it just gets worse. Step aside, minister. We see your BS and we are calling you on it,” he said.

‘Loadshedding worse than state capture’

Energy minister Gwede Mantashe slammed Eskom for plunging the country into stage 6 load-shedding, saying it is worse than state capture.

“We are from the period of state capture, but load-shedding is becoming worse than state capture. Any other government can be overthrown for this level of loadshedding.

“Eskom, by not attending to load-shedding, is actively agitating for the overthrow of the state. If it is not addressed, then the state will be failing to do what it needs to do,” said Mantashe.

To end loadshedding, Mantashe said Eskom has to solve its generation capacity problem.

He said the power utility is running at very low energy availability factors (EAFs), a measure of electricity output compared with installed capacity.

At best, said Mantashe, Eskom is achieving output of 26,000MW, or an EAF of about 60%.

According to Mantashe, the lack of stable and sufficient power supply is the main reason for poor economic growth.

He said in the mining sector load-shedding posed the greatest challenge to growth, followed by disruptions to Transnet rail services and high levels of crime.

“In [the third quarter] our GDP grew 1.6%. This could have been 3%, but because of load-shedding the economy can’t move.”


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.