- David Mabuza's first address since his lengthy illness was far from welcoming on Thursday
- The Deputy President was grilled for answers during a sitting of the National Council of Provinces
- Eskom was a hot topic with Mabuza outlining the government's plan to turn the tide at the power utility
Eskom was the order of the day for David Mabuza during his first Q&A session in over a month on Thursday.
The Deputy President outlined the state's plan to (hopefully) turn things around at the embattled state-owned entity. Mabuza highlighted that economic recovery was heavily dependent on power while SA endures Stage 4 load-shedding:
“Our country’s rapid economic growth and recovery is likely dependent on our ability to ensure the security of energy supply, in order to support industrialisation and equally ensure that there is no disruption to people’s livelihoods through electricity disruptions.”
The Deputy President detailed the conditions attached to government support provided to Eskom:
“Our support to Eskom focuses on the following: ensuring that Eskom strengthens its leadership, governance and accountability system. Addressing the debt and liquidity challenges, including the payments of debts owed to Eskom by government entities. We have programmes to minimise energy disruptions and accelerating the completion of the new-built programme that will deliver additional energy capacity.”
Despite the outages facing the nation, Mabuza rejected the invitation to comment on allegations against management at the power utility:
“I think, honourable member, it would be incorrect for me to cast aspersions to the administrative leadership of Eskom that they have ulterior interests; rather than the interests of the country.”
Denying plans to privatise Eskom, Mabuza explained the plan to divide the utility into three entities:
“As announced by the President, that Eskom is going to be divided into these three entities – or ‘subsidiaries’ if you want to call it [that] – your generation, transmission, and distribution. We think that all these entities will still be under Eskom but operate independently, with their own asset register. They can go on their own to raise money and deal with their operations.”
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Mabuza is recovering from a month-long illness that has left him feeling grateful to have survived the ordeal.
Commenting after concerns were raised about his health and two Parliamentary appearances were cancelled, Mabuza said that:
"My health situation is improving. I am grateful I survived. Some of our people were already circulating information that I am dead. Well, I am still alive. It was a very difficult situation getting ill. It's not an easy situation."
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