EFF leader Julius Malema has urged Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter to take charge and work for the people, claiming that allowing independent power producers (IPPs) to enter the market would collapse the power utility.
On Friday, Malema told De Ruyter at the utility’s headquarters he believed Eskom had the capacity to create its own generating company to replace IPPs. This despite Eskom’s failure to keep load shedding at bay.
Frustrated by regular power cuts, mining and industrial companies have been pushing the government to allow them to build their own power plants to ensure security of supply.
The power utility, under De Ruyter, has warned of an increased likelihood of power cuts over the next 18 months as it takes generating units offline to conduct maintenance.
To help reduce the power gap, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the state would be taking measures to “rapidly and significantly” increase generation capacity outside of Eskom, including by making it easier for independent producers get certification to build and run plants above 1MW.
The state would also start the procurement of emergency power from projects that could “deliver electricity into the grid within three to 12 months from approval”, he added.
Malema, however, had other thoughts.
“IPPs are benefiting Ramaphosa, they are benefiting [businessman Patrice] Motsepe, they are benefiting the Ramaphosa family. You cannot follow the agenda of a family. Eskom has the capacity to create its own generating company that will replace these IPPs. We want an Eskom that is strong, that serves the people. We do not want a divided Eskom that will serve individual agendas,” he told De Ruyter.
Malema was speaking after the EFF marched kilometres in cold and rainy weather from Innesfree Park to Megawatt Park.
Thousands of EFF members, with support from truck drivers, braved the weather demanding an end to load shedding.
The red beret’s leader blamed Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for Eskom’s woes.
Malema said De Ruyter was employed to work for the people, adding if Eskom collapsed under his stewardship, it would leave a stain on his legacy.
The EFF handed a memorandum of demands to the power utility’s CEO and demanded that Eskom insource all its operations.
He called on De Ruyter to look at the awarding of tenders at Eskom, alleging they were awarded to mostly white companies.
Malema told him to prove to the people of South Africa that he was working for the benefit of the country rather than for profit.