Kgosientsho Ramokgopa emerges as preferred electricity minister
Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has emerged as a front-runner to become South Africa’s first minister of electricity, CityPress and BusinessDay reported.
Ramokgopa currently serves in the Presidency as head of the investment and infrastructure office.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the state of the nation address that a minister of electricity will be appointed to the Presidency.
“The minister will focus full-time and work with the Eskom board and management on ending load shedding and ensuring that the Energy Action Plan is implemented without delay,” said Ramaphosa.
BusinessDay and CityPress cited reliable sources in saying that Ramaphosa is considering Ramokgopa for the position. They added that he is also being considered for the position of Eskom CEO.
Nobody has been selected for either position as yet.
Ramokgopa does not have any experience with electricity governance but has commented publically about the poor state of electricity infrastructure.
A month ago, Ramokgopa released a document on his LinkedIn profile that details the decline of the country’s infrastructure.
In the document, Ramokgopa pipped the President to the post of declaring the state of energy infrastructure an emergency rather than a crisis.
“The country’s current inability to provide sustainable and reliable sources of power has long posed an immediate risk with the situation drastically deteriorating on a daily basis,” he said.
Ramokgopa called for the roleplayers involved in electricity governance to have more clearly defined roles.
“In South Africa, the roles and responsibilities of various entities and departments lack certainty and are hampered by insufficient coordination mechanisms.”
With five ministries now involved in electricity governance, Chris Yelland, energy analyst and managing director of EE Business Intelligence, told Daily Investor that the addition of a minister of electricity in the presidency will only serve to further complicate electricity governance.
Yelland said that having five different ministries does not bode well “for effective, fast and decisive decision making” because it will be difficult for many ministers, who hold different world views and positions on electricity policy, to act in unison.
Ramokgopa’s background and experience
Ramokgopa trained as a civil engineer at the University of Durban-Westville. He led the ANC youth league and the South African Student Congress during his university years.
He served as the mayor of Tshwane from 2010 to 2016. During that time, a multi-billion rand mess-up relating to a contract to install smart meters in the municipality blighted his record.
After the ANC lost the election in Tshwane in 2016, Ramokgopa lost his position as mayor but continued to lead the ANC in the region.
He was appointed to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in 2019 but resigned after less than five months into his position, allegedly as a consequence of a move to improve the gender balance in the cabinet.
Less than a month later, however, Ramokgopa was appointed to the presidency as the head of the office of investment and infrastructure.
At the ANC’s last national conference in December, Ramokgopa was appointed to the National Executive Committee for the first time.