‘President must intervene and end territorial fight’

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to lay down the law to end the ongoing territorial tussle in his cabinet over Electricity Minister Sputla Ramokgopa’s role and powers.

Mbalula briefed the media in Ekurhuleni on day one of the governing party’s ordinary national executive committee (NEC) meeting, where Ramokgopa is expected to table his plans to end loadshedding.

Ramokgopa has reportedly been rendered powerless by his cabinet counterparts, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The two apparently view Ramokgopa as someone who encroaches on their portfolios owing to the unclear definition of his powers in the newly created ministry.

Due to this perception, Mantashe and Gordhan allegedly cut Ramokgopa to size in a cabinet meeting this week.

Mbalula said this cannot go on, and called upon Ramaphosa to end the quarreling.

“We are not interested in fighting for a territorial battle. Anyone who is doing that, the ANC will deal with it from this [NEC] meeting onwards. We did not appoint an electricity minister to struggle for powers for whatever he wants,” said Mbalula.

“We want a working relationship. We will give the president marching orders because he is the president of the country and the ANC. He must intervene. He cannot allow anarchy at this moment, when we need to keep the lights on.

“He leads the cabinet, he must decide. We have given them the mandate and South Africans support the electricity minister to deal with loadshedding. We expect the president to run the cabinet, not the cabinet running itself.”

Mbalula insisted that if Ramaphosa does not act on the impasse over what is Ramokgopa’s power, the NEC would force his hand.

“The president cannot allow reports that there is a fallout and territorial battle as if this country is leaderless.

“We cannot come to the public and say the government we run is confused about what Sputla needs to do. The president is the CEO of the country. He must give direction.”

According to Mbalula, the priority is to “kill loadshedding” as people are less interested in ministers fighting over their territories.

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