POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: State of the nation address will be highlight of the week
Election date and future plans for Eskom expected in speech
This week marks one of the most important moments in the country’s political calendar, with President Cyril Ramaphosa expected to deliver the state of the nation address in parliament on Thursday.
This year the president faces the added pressure of presenting his administration’s plan for the nation just a few months before the national elections. He is expected to announce the date on which South Africans will head to the polls during his address.
Ramaphosa is also expected to reveal details on the future of Eskom.
A presidential task team on Eskom has recommended that the highly indebted utility be split into different entities focused on generation, distribution and transmission.
Last week the ANC’s national executive committee agreed that selling Eskom shares could be a feasible option for the struggling company. Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said a decision on its future needed to be made in a month.
Also in parliament, the portfolio committee on environmental affairs will on Monday begin its inquiry into the alleged closing of Clifton fourth beach to members of the public in December. Various political parties, community organisations and activists protested at the popular Cape Town beach after allegations that black people had been sent away by a private security firm.
The committee is expected to engage with officials from the departments of environmental affairs and tourism, the City of Cape Town, Responsible Security Company, the SA Police Service and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority.
The judicial commission investigating state capture will reconvene on Monday in Johannesburg after weeks of explosive testimony about alleged corrupt dealings between politicians, journalists, prosecutions authority officials and facilities management company African Global Operations, formerly named Bosasa.
The commission headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has not announced who will take the stand next. However, it may be dealing with requests from individuals implicated in wrongdoing, such as ANC national chair and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe, who over the weekend said he had written a letter asking to give evidence.
Last week, former Bosasa employee Richard le Roux told the commission the company had spent about R300,000 on maintenance and upgrades at Mantashe’s homes.
On Monday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) will hold a special central executive committee meeting to discuss its upcoming national strike against job losses. The one-day action, planned for February 13, is aimed at putting pressure on employers and government to halt retrenchments..
The meeting will also discuss recent revelations that Cosatu-affiliated unions were among the beneficiaries of the state-capture project. Officials from three of its organisations are alleged to have received bribes from Bosasa.