South Africa is about to learn who will take on the challenge of rescuing the country from its worst-ever energy crisis. The Presidency has announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa will reveal a new national executive on Monday at 7pm. During his State of the Nation address earlier this year, Ramaphosa announced that a new “Minister of Electricity” would be appointed to solve issues at ailing state-owned entity and energy provider Eskom. Eskom has been struggling in recent weeks, with former CEO André de Ruyter implicating senior politicians and powerful cartels in corruption he claimed was at the root of the company’s problems. This raises questions for the new minister, as allegations made by the former CEO are under scrutiny.
There is also speculation about how the new minister will work with Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe, and De Ruyter’s recently appointed replacement, Calib Cassim, who has been made interim Eskom group CEO. The Presidency hit back at rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle, confirming that it would take place on Monday, after Ramaphosa was accused of being too unwell to make the announcement last Thursday. In a statement, the Presidency said that the reshuffle would enable the President to put in place a national executive that would “build on the commitments government has made for faster growth through our investment drive, economic reforms, public employment programmes, and an expanding infrastructure programme.” The business community will be hoping that the reshuffle will have a positive impact on the markets and provide a clear role for the new Minister of Electricity to address the negative impact of load shedding on the South African economy.