‘I will fire you’ – Gwede Mantashe promises those who do not support nuclear programmes

Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. File picture

  • Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has reiterated that he wants a nuclear programme in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
  • Anyone who does not support this, will be fired, he warned.
  • Mantashe delivered the opening address at the ANC’s Eastern Cape elective conference on Saturday.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says those who resist nuclear power while serving on the board of the National Nuclear Regulator will be fired.

“If you resist nuclear and you [are] a board member, I fire you, simple. You can’t be in a board of something you’re not advocating for. We want nuclear there in Port Elizabeth,” he told delegates at the ANC Eastern Cape conference on Saturday.

Mantashe delivered the opening address and spoke on a wide range of issues affecting the province.

Mantashe also took a swipe at Eskom board member and head of Business Leadership SA Busisiwe Mavuso for her recent criticism of the ANC.

“Anyone who wants attention attacks the ANC. We put someone in a board at Eskom and they then insult the ANC. Each [time] this person sits in a board meeting they get paid, then acts like she doesn’t have responsibility,” he said.

Mavuso had a heated exchange with Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa after she said Eskom’s current board and CEO André de Ruyter would not be the “fall guy” for the mess at the embattled power utility that she attributed to the ANC-led government.

READ | If you want pliable SOE board members who ‘behave’, then say so: Mavuso on Eskom showdown

Mantashe also warned delegates of voting along factional lines.

“A factional victory is a hollow victory; let’s elect good comrades. We elect collectives, but we never ask what individual attributes and contributions they bring individually. We have a lot [of] travellers and few people who carry the burden of leadership,” he said.

He encouraged factions to talk to each in order to save the ANC.

“Talk to one another comrades, the choices you make here will determine the ANC here and nationally. You may force factions to talk to one another. Someone will have to impose that. If you leave this conference divided then the hope to revive the ANC nationally would be gone,” he said.

Mantashe also lashed out at the party’s cadres deployed in government.

“We elect mayors who are dwarfs and go further to employ dwarfs in the municipalities. Then we ask ourselves why the municipalities are crumbling.”

READ | ANC Eastern Cape branches with ‘questionable status’ given go-ahead to participate in conference

The conference started about two hours late, but it was further delayed by delegates who raised issues about the rules and processes of the conference.

Before the official speeches started, Oscar Mabuyane, Eastern Cape premier and a candidate for the province’s leadership position, called on delegates not to sing songs that could divide delegates according to the candidates they supported.

“We are done with that comrades. Let’s unite this conference,” he said.

On Saturday morning, delegates raised back and forth orders. They were disgruntled about the available space in the conference room.

Even after being given assurances that the matter would be dealt with, delegates continued going back and forth and raising orders.

A large group of delegates booed Mabuyane, and it seemed the leadership lost control of proceedings. The crowds calmed down when more space became available as guests were asked to sit on the stage.