“Green Shoots” Gordhan must be cut off – Ghaleb Cachalia slams ANC’s “frankly mad” policies

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, has called for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to go. Cachalia makes the call in an interview with BizNews on both Transnet and ESKOM being leaderless. “I call him of late ‘Green Shoots Gordhan’ because he says…regularly that there are green shoots in Transnet, there are green shoots in ESKOM, there are green shoots in Denel, there are green shoots in SAA. The fact remains that there are only weeds there. There are no green shoots. And he is responsible for putting the gardeners in place to tend to these weeds which they can’t even dig up.” Cachalia says Gordhan is “an incompetent minister who appoints incompetent people to run the heart and spine of our economy”. Cachalia describes African National Congress (ANC) policies as “frankly mad”. He says the ruling party has “created a monster” that they “cannot deal with properly”. Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:09 – Introductions
  • 00:35 – Ghaleb Cachalia on the situation regarding Portia Derby’s resignation
  • 01:01 – On how she got this job in the first place
  • 03:03 – On Minister Pravin Gordhan failings regarding the parastatals
  • 04:00 – On people who display competence not lasting in the job either
  • 05:08 – To what end with a government sit by and what it it’s a parastatal is being run into the ground
  • 08:00 – On his turnaround plan
  • 09:11 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, has called for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to go.

Cachalia makes the call in an interview with BizNews on both Transnet and ESKOM being leaderless.

“My next call is for the minister to go. I call him of late ‘Green Shoots Gordhan’ because he says on occasion regularly that there are green shoots in Transnet, there are green shoots in ESKOM, there are green shoots in Denel, there are green shoots in SAA. 

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“The fact remains that there are only weeds there. There are no green shoots. And he is responsible for putting the gardeners in place to tend to these weeds which they can’t even dig up.

“Now that is the reality. And where does the buck stop? It stops with the minister. It stops with this government. And he must take responsibility. Now the ‘Green Shoot Gordhan’ must be cut off.”

Commenting on how the recently departed Transnet CEO Portia Derby got appointed in the first place, Cachalia says: “Well, Mr. Gordhan appointed her…He plays musical chairs with the CEOs in Transnet. They fail, he finds another one. The next one fails and he finds another one. This…is not how you run the largest companies in the country that have a stranglehold on the economy and on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“They are taking cadres who have not run anything of any size or complexity in that regard, and they put them in these places, and then they set up to fail. They fail because…they’re out of their depth….I ask you, what is the minister doing?”

As to what end a government would sit by and watch its parastatals being run into the ground, Cachalia says: “Well, the government is caught between a rock and a hard place of their own making. They have facilitated theft in the past, not to put too fine a point on it. And then they have tried to claw back and to fix in some ham-fisted way what they themselves have done. 

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“But they have created a monster and they cannot deal with this monster properly. It is a monster which feeds them. It is a monster which is a recipient of their policies, which are frankly mad. 

“There’s a monster that is a recipient of the cornerstone of the way they deal with things, putting incompetent people who are out of their depth as cadre employees in various places.”

“How are we going to deal with these issues if we have an incompetent minister who appoints incompetent people to run the largest, as I’ve said in the past, the heart and spine of our economy.”

As for the fate of the rare competent appointee, Cachalia says: “…we had that with Mr (André) De  Ruyter (former ESKOM CEO). Mr. De Ruyter grasped the nettle and took it upon himself to do a number of things…So when someone like Mr. De Ruyter is put in place and grasps the nettle, then that’s too uncomfortable because what it’s dealing with is in effect with policies, with procurement, with the minister’s cadre deployment and everything that this ANC (African National Congress) government has done to get us into this parlous place. Now I ask you if he, as the shareholders representative, has done that over a period of years, many years, then surely he must go.”

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