Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica conceded today that the country’s electricity crisis constitutes “a national emergency” and urged South Africans to work together to overcome it.
Opening a special joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, she expressed “sincere regret” for the power crisis.
But in an unfinished sentence, she appeared to criticise the call for heads to roll, saying there were some people who want to “crucify, crucify, crucify”...
Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling pointed out that Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was fired from her post as deputy minister of health for making one unauthorised trip abroad, but that no one had been sacked for bringing the economy to its knees.
There is a sense in which heads have already rolled -- at the ANC conference last December, where many members of the cabinet were not re-elected to the ANC's national executive committee, and no doubt this will also be reflected in the party list for the next general election.
But Lance Greyling of the ID makes a point that deserves further consideration. Where heads have rolled in the past, it has looked like an excuse, or misuse of power for personal rivalries and cronyism. Even the sacking of Jacob Zuma had more than a whiff of an excuse to get rid of a rival.
But heads rolling is not enough. We don't need scapegoats: we need solutions. The government didn't build power stations apparently believing that private enterprise would do so. Private enterprise hasn't done so, so the government better do it. Oh yes, and stop Coega. The jobs lost through power cuts will far exceed the number of jobs created by Coega.