‘White noise’ of Sona: Appointing a minister of electricity absurd

Within minutes, jokes about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to appoint a minister of electricity to deal with load shedding went viral

It seems poking fun at serious issues is how South Africans cope during a crisis if Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) is anything to go by.

Within minutes, jokes about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to appoint a minister of electricity to deal with load shedding went viral.

More ministers

“We also need a minister of Kaizer Chiefs because we have a serious problem there,” said one post in reference to the team’s losing streak.

“We need a minister of potholes,” said another over the poor state of SA’s roads.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was also not spared: “When you are the head of finance and your boss creates a position called head of money,” said another post with a picture of Mantashe.

If these jokes do not show how absurd the plan to appoint a minister of electricity is, then nothing will. No wonder Mantashe dismissed the position as a mere “project manager”.

Otherwise, we are bound to have a minister of GBV, given the high rates of gender-based violence, or a minister of gun violence after the shooting of rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes in Durban on Friday.

What is more concerning is that many people were unable to watch the Sona due to load shedding. This shows how urgently this energy crisis ought to be addressed.

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Broken record

Ramaphosa is starting to sound like a broken record. Since last year, he has been saying the same things, but no progress has been made. Just like he did last Thursday night, he has been speaking about the terrible effects of load shedding and continuously vows to end it.

But little is done. For how long has he been saying Eskom’s debt will be addressed by National Treasury? It is time the president admits that ending load shedding and fixing Eskom is an impossible task.

We were all expecting to hear about the strategic steps government has taken to turn around Eskom, but all we heard was how he was still going to ensure that Eskom’s power stations were improved, and skills were attracted to the power utility.

Ramaphosa’s failure has made him to resort to a last option of putting in place a national state of disaster to end load shedding, hoping that will result in reliable electricity for all. But getting real, this is out of desperation and will be nothing more than “looting of funds part two” following the Covid pandemic.

Eskom crisis

So the president should just be blunt about the fact that he wants to surrender Eskom to private hands and stop this charade that the power utility can survive under his watch.

Centralising Eskom under his guard in the Presidency by appointing an additional minister of electricity is absurd. This is a clear lack of respect for the ANC resolution that Eskom be put under the department of energy.

Instead of shrinking his Cabinet to positions that are crucial, he is ensuring overlapping mandates for ministers, while he keeps his Cabinet bloated at the expense of the fiscus.

This added portfolio is unnecessary and will end up being marginalised, like the state security department.

To get into other issues he spoke about would be a waste of time because he has made the same noise in the past. Until the scrapping of the experience requirement for youth who are seeking entry level jobs and the Post Bank is a reality, the president can’t be taken seriously.


For as long as he talks about fighting corruption even though he hasn’t accounted on the Phala Phala theft scandal, he can only dream that he is following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. Ramaphosa’s speech was nothing more than him being a poet or a philosopher by trying to revive confidence through a motivational speech.

Instead of him boldly and honestly speaking to the citizens on how he plans to save them from poverty, unemployment and inequalities that are persistent, he embarked on a journey of being Shakespeare.

ALSO READ: Eskom ramps up load shedding to stage 4 and 3