Johannesburg – The Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has likened those who want South Africa to do away with coals in favour of renewable energy to a prophetess Nongqawuse.
Mantashe was speaking during the funeral of the ANC Chairperson of Sarah Baartman Region, Mzimkhulu Njadayi who was famously known as Scara.
Njadayi has been laid to rest in his small town of Bathurst near Port Alfred after collapsing to his death last week following a mayoral committee meeting he was chairing shortly after his election as the mayor of Sarah Baartman District.
Mantashe said: “There is ongoing debate which says we must do away with coals. I’m the only rebel against it, I keep saying why we should get rid of coals before we can see the impact of the other energy sources. People who are saying that reminds me of a prophetess who instructed people to slaughter cattle because they were going to gain more and to this day those people have nothing.”
He also criticised those that are opposed to Shell and its intentions to conduct seismic survey along the Wild Coast.
Mantashe said: “When Shell wants to search for oil in the Eastern Cape, it gets opposed by the people of this province to the extent of wanting to burn down Shell service stations and that chases Shell to look for exploration opportunities in countries such as Namibia.”
He praised Njadayi for having a developmental vision for his district of Sarah Baartman.
Mantashe said after Njadayi was elected as the mayor he approached Mantashe over an idea to meet with government ministers in the economic cluster.
“I got a message from him, telling me that he wants a meeting with all the ministers in the economic cluster. When I asked him the purpose of the meeting he said he wants to develop the economic strategy of Sarah Baartman. I was very keen for that meeting, I’m not sure if there will be someone else who will call for it,” said Mantashe.
He said the ANC has a responsibility to tamper with the apartheid architecture of economy.
Mantashe said, although he led a small region, Sarah Baartman was a strategic region due to Njadayi leadership.
In a message that was read out, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane described Njadayi as the epitome of the Bathopele principle.
The Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola also praised Njadayi for the work he did during their time in the youth league.
Lamola said he was among ANC panelists that were interviewing district mayors.
“I also had a privilege to interview comrade Scara and other candidates that were being interviewed to be district mayors of Sarah Baartman.
Despite him knowing me well from serving together in the youth league structures, he never called me once to check how the interview went. He never even called me to lobby that I make sure he was going to get the position.
He emerged from the interviews out of his own competency. He didn’t do him any favours because he understood the local government,” said Lamola.
The Municipal Speaker of Sarah Baartman Nomhle Gaga said the district has lost someone who knew the municipality and its diversity such as the sheep farmers in the Karoo to fruit growers in the Sunday River Valley.