Deputy president Paul Mashatile is facing tough questions in Parliament including Eskom’s power crisis in his maiden address after his appointment in the position following the departure of his predecessor David Mabuza.
Mashatile was sworn in almost three weeks ago after President Cyril Ramaphosa named him and other members of the ruling party in his Cabinet.
His appearance comes on the day the official opposition has called for an inquiry into Eskom following revelations by former CEO Andre de Ruyter that there was corruption and looting of resources at the power utility.
De Ruyter said a high-ranking politician was involved in one of the cartels operating at Eskom where resources were plundered.
But one of the questions Mashatile faces relates to the power crisis gripping the country over the past few weeks.
The Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, is on a visit to a number of power stations to get to the bottom of load shedding.
Mashatile has been given his new responsibilities by Ramaphosa and in his letter to Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, the president said his deputy would among other things become his special envoy on peace missions in Africa.
Mashatile’s predecessor, David Mabuza was also the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Eskom.
This was the same position that Ramaphosa occupied in his previous role as deputy president.
But Ramokgopa has been roped in to fix the power crisis.
Eskom announced that the energy availability factor had now increased from 48% to 70% after some of the units were brought on stream.
Mashatile also faces questions on Phala Phala.
This comes after Parliament rejected another motion on the ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged theft at the president’s farm.
ANC members had argued against establishing this committee saying law-enforcement agencies were still busy with that work.
But almost all opposition parties said on Wednesday that the president needed to be held accountable for the alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of US currency on the farm.
Mashatile has also been asked to respond to progress made in dealing with issues affecting traditional leaders in the country.
Mabuza was also meeting a number of traditional leaders during his time in office.
The National House of Traditional and Khoi-San leaders said last week during their sitting that they had worked well with Mabuza.
Ramaphosa expressed concern at the number of traditional leaders killed. He said over 40 traditional leaders had been killed, especially in KwaZulu-Natal but government was hot on the heels of those behind these killings.