Flash Briefing: Ramaphosa admits ‘missing red flags’ in Zondo testimony; R2bn damage to Eskom’s Medupi; 100MW licence exemptions

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa’s testimony at the state capture commission has exposed deep tranches of the ANC’s ‘shadow state’ – a set of parallel party practices that are often obscured from public view. ​​President Ramaphosa acknowledged before the Commission on Thursday that the Gupta family’s influence over appointments in government and state-owned entities (SOEs) was not detected or addressed until it was too late. Ramaphosa was continuing evidence he gave on SOEs from Wednesday afternoon. He had also unpacked his experience serving as deputy president under former president Jacob Zuma. During Zuma’s presidency, the Gupta family amassed so much influence over government that people linked to them found themselves at the helm of strategic parastatals which ultimately gave billions of rands in state contracts to Gupta-owned companies. Evidence leader Advocate Anton Myburgh asked Ramaphosa about the fact that The New Age newspaper, which was also owned by the Guptas, reported that Brian Molefe would be CEO of Transnet in 2010, before he had even been nominated. Ramaphosa said the fact that a publication could know the details of appointments was unsettling for South African, adding that: “A red flag had been raised. It was not heeded. We have to say that.”
  • It could cost R2 billion and take 2 years to repair the damage done to the Medupi unit that exploded at the weekend, CEO Andre de Ruyter says. He said the power utility is currently assessing the damage and investigating events that led to the explosion. At this stage, he said there is no evidence pointing to the explosion being a result of sabotage or any nefarious actions. It has led to a loss of 700MW of power, putting further strain on the national grid, which is barely avoiding load shedding as it is. Eskom celebrated the completion of all Medupi units just last week.
  • The rules allowing licence exemptions for the generation and operation of 100 MW of power have been gazetted by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. Amendments to schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act, which enable the change, were published on Thursday. President Cyril Ramaphosa in June announced that the licence threshold would be lifted from 1 MW to 100 MW, in a bid to bolster energy security. At the time, he said the additional energy supply would help reduce the burden on power utility Eskom.
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