[Letter] Eskom execs running from toxic ANC

Should mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe truly be unsure of the numerous reasons behind the leadership exodus from Eskom (and, lest we forget, from Transnet), he need only turn to core ANC policy and ideology (“What are Eskom execs running from, Gwede Mantashe asks”, October 10).

Those leaders and executives who have departed from these two state-owned entities (SOEs), and others, will have their own reasons for departing. Given the broader ideological framework within which SOEs are located, it is little surprise that arguably the two biggest risks to the economy, Eskom and Transnet, are now experiencing a C-suite level leadership exodus.

When he told reporters at the Africa Oil Week, “If you are underground and you see mice running, you do not go to see what they are running from. You should run with them because they are likely running from methane. If there is an exodus of executives we need to understand what the methane is that they are running from,” the minister inadvertently highlighted the destructive effects of years of ANC policy. Instead of supplying oxygen to the economy, the methane that is ANC policy and ideology suffocates economic activity, fixed capital investment and job creation at every turn.

Party connections take precedence, and centralised control (whether direct or indirect) is non-negotiable. The day-to-day running of an SOE is made all the more difficult when equipment contracts are not based on value for money but instead preferential procurement is used as a smokescreen to benefit “non-value-adding intermediaries”, to quote yet another former Eskom executive who decided to leave. Cadre deployment in the short term, and the use of SOEs to further what the party considers the national democratic revolution over the long term, remain the guiding lights.

The de factolessening of the influence and controls exerted by SOEs in SA is occurring despite core ANC ideology and desires.

Originally published here.

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