Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan responded to an American journalist’s question at a press briefing on Eskom’s dire situation on Tuesday by having a dig at US President Donald Trump and the US as a whole, by saying that in South Africa we don’t “govern through tweets”.
Gordhan was asked a question about governance in South Africa.
Gordhan said “a delegation from the US” was in South Africa over the weekend, adding that in his view, South Africans were “less noisy than them.”
“We have far less crises than your country at the moment, and we don’t govern through tweets,” he continued in what was likely a reference to Trump’s very active Twitter presence, before saying he would “get to the crux of” the journalist’s “question regarding governance”.
(You may have to activate audio manually on your device for the video below)
He did add that in his view, the US justice department worked better than South Africa’s, as they haven’t had to “suffer state capture”.
While some enjoyed Gordhan’s dig at Trump, others on social media expressed the view that Gordhan was in no position to insult another country considering the seriousness of our own problems.
One user called it a “cheap shot”, another called it “petty”, and another suggested that bringing up Trump was the “best defence” the minister had at the moment.
— Sbudda Luda (@EphraimSbudda) March 19, 2019
— Hlubi Hendricks (@HlubiHendricks) March 19, 2019
Listening to Gordhan taking a cheap shot at the American reporter/Trump "Unlike America, this country is not run on twitter", I thought, maybe we should also run our country on twitter, that is if we can get electricity.
— Snafu (@Snafu_ZA) March 19, 2019
If only they could do half the job Trump is doing for his economy, comes off as petty & a little stupid by Gordhan
— The Purple Cow Face (@TheFace34) March 19, 2019
WARNING: The following tweet contains strong language.
Oh, fuck off!
At least we are not Trump is about the best defence Pravin Gordhan has right now That is how low @GovernmentZA and @MYANC have set the bar.#Loadshedding #gordhan #EskomLoadshedding https://t.co/vyNrcW3cNt
— Glenn Bownes (@nomadglenn) March 19, 2019
The press conference saw Gordhan apologising to the nation for the current energy situation which has seen South Africa’s struggling energy utility implement the most intensive batch of rolling blackouts in a decade.
According to the minister, insufficient maintenance is the main cause of Eskom’s current woes.
Gordhan also commiserated with the public, saying he “understands the frustration”.
“We don’t have a magic formula,” he added, noting that while Eskom had 48,000 MW of installed capacity, only 28,000 MW were currently available.
Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza also spoke, echoing Gordhan’s view on maintenance and conceding that the state company had not spent enough on this over the past five years, while new plants Medupi and Kusile had not come on stream.
He admitted that in his view, the construction of these two plants was “misguided”.
“Money was not spent on maintenance, the question has to be what was that money spent on,” Mabuza said. “The reality is that we now have a plant that is falling off, owing to no maintenance.”
(Background reporting, ANA)