Deputy President David Mabuza on Tuesday responded to questions raised by members of the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town.
The questions ranged from land reform to the performance of state-owned enterprises.
Here are five key takeouts from the session:
Soweto residents must pay up
After marches against load-shedding and free electricity demands by Soweto residents, Mabuza said they must pay for power like all South Africans.
Soweto residents owe the power utility an estimated R18bn.
“Our people must pay. I’ve seen people in Soweto marching about the bills. As much as they’ve got concerns about the bills that have been issued by Eskom, let them discuss that, but they must know that Eskom is using money to generate electricity.”
Independent power producers
Mabuza said for independent power producers to function effectively, Medupi and Kusile power stations must be in full operation, as the capacity of IPPs was still low at this stage.
“These are individuals that supply 5, 2, 10MW, which is not significant. There’s not even a single independent producer that is producing 500MW. All of them are less than 100. Whether they are there or not, they don’t make any difference.”
Mabuza said the ANC had a moral obligation to correct the wrongs of the past which led to black people being dispossessed of land. He said the party was in the process of expanding access to land, which would boost the economy and social cohesion.
“The government is implementing a land reform program in a very systematic, orderly way which is consistent with the law. We will ensure that land is made available for human settlement, agricultural purposes and economic reform.”
Mabuza said the government was working towards stabilizing struggling state-owned companies including Eskom, SAA and Denel until they’re in a position to sustain themselves.
“All board members of the SOEs are being reviewed, they have further been directed to focus on addressing all governance failures that have impacted negatively on the SOEs.”
SAA is not going anywhere
The deputy president said the government would not let go of SAA as South Africans love the airline. He said it was determined to find the root cause of the problems faced by the airline and get it back to operating without bailouts.
“As government, we still think we can deal with the challenges faced by SAA. This business must be rescued. The business practitioner will tell us exactly what needs to be fixed.”