Ramaphosa: MPs should take load shedding seriously

David Mabuza said before democracy, relatively few South Africans enjoyed electricity, while now the majority does.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament on 14 February 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa said Members of Parliament (MPs) weren't listening properly when his deputy, David Mabuza, told Parliament last week that electricity shortages were a sign of growth.

Mabuza, who heads the team of ministers dealing with load shedding, made the point that before democracy, relatively few South Africans enjoyed electricity, while now the majority does.

* READ: Mabuza says load shedding is a sign of growth

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane tackled Ramaphosa about Mabuza's statement while he was answering questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“He told the people of South Africa that the reason for Eskom’s failure is because of growth; load shedding is an outcome of growth. Now, that is outrageous. I would like to know Mr President, is whether you stand by Mabuza’s statement that load shedding is a function of growth?”

To loud heckling from opposition benches, Ramaphosa accused MPs of asking questions and then not paying proper attention to the replies.

“If they had listened carefully, they would have heard that, yes, the load shedding that we are having is caused by a variety of factors.”

He also appealed to MPs to take Eskom's crisis seriously: “Load shedding is a problem we should not make fun of; we should deal with this matter with the seriousness that it requires.”

RAMAPHOSA AFFIRMS DECISION TO NATIONALISE RESERVE BANK

Ramaphosa has reaffirmed the ANC’s decision to nationalise the Reserve Bank, saying it should be owned by the people of South Africa.

The rand traded weaker immediately after he told Parliament that his party’s resolution would be implemented.

Ramaphosa’s told MPs South Africa is one of only six countries in the world that have external shareholders in their central banks, while the United Kingdom bought out its central bank’s private shareholders in the 1940s.

The ANC leader may have had one eye on the looming elections when Maimane asked him about his government’s contradictory statements on the Reserve Bank.

“The governing party has taken a very clear resolution that says the Reserve Bank of our people should be owned by the people of South Africa.”

Ramaphosa said this will confirm South Africa’s sovereignty: “That decision is there and it’s got to be implemented and we’re going to go through a process to see how best [it] is implemented.”

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago on Wednesday told an audience at Stellenbosch University that its independence was key to it fulfilling its mandate.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)