- Earlier today at the South African Communist Party’s 15th National Elective Congress held in Boksburg, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ANC is strongly considering the establishment of a second state-owned power utility to reduce the risk posed by Eskom’s failings.
- Ramaphosa said that the proposal was made by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.
“Eskom has been operating as a monopoly for over 100 years and having one company taking up the role of providing energy to the entire country poses a great risk. If it Eskom fails, its failure becomes a peculiar failure for the entire country,” said Ramaphosa.
“Look at China. It has a number of state-owned power providers who compete among themselves ensuring that the price of electricity is greatly reduced, ” adding that he thought Mantashe’s proposal was a great idea.
About Gwede Mantashe
Samson Gwede Mantashe, popularly known as Gwede Mantashe is a communist, South African politician, and trade unionist, who as of 18 December 2017, serves as the National Chairperson of the African National Congress. He is also a former chairperson of the South African Communist Party and Secretary General of the ANC. Gwede still sits on the South African Communist Party politburo, which is the principal policymaking committee of the party.
He studied at the University of South Africa in 1997, and completed a B.Com Honours degree in 2002. He also acquired a master’s degree from the University of Witwatersrand in 2008. He completed his MBA through MANCOSA in 2021
He joined the migratory labour force to eke out a living in the mining industry. Beginning his mining experience at Western Deep Levels mine in 1975 as a Recreation Officer and, in the same year, moved to Prieska Copper Mines where he was Welfare Officer until 1982.
In 1982, Mantashe moved to Matla Colliery where he co-founded and became the Witbank branch chairperson of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a position he held until 1984. He was then elected NUM Regional Secretary in 1985. In recognition of his skills, Mantashe became the NUM’s National Organiser from 1988 to 1993 and its Regional Coordinator between 1993 and 1994. He was elected Secretary-General of the African National Congress at the party’s 52nd national conference in 2007.
Mantashe and his family are implicated in a string of corruption scandals. Mantashe’s daughter received R1 million in illicit Eskom money. His wife’s business received a R639 million catering contract for the still incomplete Kusile coal power plant project that has been riddled with corruption and cost overruns. His foundation is also embroiled in corruption scandals over millions in irregular payments.
In the country’s Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, it was revealed that Mantashe received security upgrades to his three homes from the now-defunct company, Bosasa. The commission’s chair, Justice Raymond Zondo, said there was no evidence of contracts being awarded due to Mantashe’s direct interference, but there were “reasonable grounds for suspecting that Mr Mantashe accepted or agreed to accept gratification” from a company (Bosasa) that wanted business from the state and that further investigations had a reasonable prospect of making prima facie findings of corruption against Mantashe. Mantashe of course denies all charges. Read more
It is also important to recall that during Zuma’s ten-year presidency, Mantashe was a key figure in the project to shield him from accountability. As secretary-general of the ANC, he instructed members of Parliament to always side with Zuma or face discipline. As such, he was a key enabler of corruption during the Zuma years.
More to follow on this announcement.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal