In her maiden speech as an EFF MP, former Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane launched a scathing attack on the ANC, claiming that the governing party is incapable of solving the load-shedding crisis that has plagued South Africa for years.
Mkhwebane, who was recently impeached by the ANC and the DA, argued that only her new political home, the EFF, has the ability to put an end to load-shedding.
Mkhwebane delivered her speech during a National Assembly session where electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was providing an update on the progress made to overcome the energy crisis. According to Mkhwebane, the ANC and its government have repeatedly made empty promises to end load-shedding, but the situation has only worsened.
She highlighted the ANC president’s assurance to the South African people that load-shedding would be eradicated, but no tangible evidence or scientific demonstrations have been presented to support this claim. Mkhwebane argued that as long as the ANC remains in power, the energy crisis will persist.
The EFF’s roadmap to electricity dependability, as articulated by the party’s leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, is the only viable solution to end load-shedding in South Africa, according to Mkhwebane. She emphasized the importance of securing baseload electricity generation and supply, which includes coal, nuclear, hydroelectricity, and gas-to-electricity conversion.
Mkhwebane also criticized the role of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in exacerbating the electricity crisis. She claimed that these IPPs, imposed by the imperialist West, have been forced onto Eskom without any rational or sensible basis.
FF Plus MP Wouter Wessels echoed Mkhwebane’s sentiments, expressing skepticism about the government’s sudden ability to address the energy crisis just before the 2024 national elections. He drew parallels to the 2009 elections when load-shedding miraculously ceased on the eve of the polls. Wessels questioned whether the reduction in load-shedding was merely a temporary measure for political gain.
In response, Ramokgopa denied any electioneering motives behind the government’s efforts to secure additional power sources. He emphasized the economic implications of unserviced energy, which could lead to a contraction of up to 5% in the South African economy and a daily loss of up to R1 billion.
Despite the criticism, Ramokgopa defended his ministry’s commitment to protecting the South African economy and acknowledged the need for fiscal reprioritization to address the energy crisis.
IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa expressed sympathy for Ramokgopa’s challenging position, caught between the two senior ministers responsible for Eskom. Hlengwa criticized Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe, suggesting that their presence would hinder any progress in resolving the crisis.