Defend Truth


Julius Malema enters the Eskom fray

Julius Malema enters the Eskom fray

And the Black Management Forum is poised to join. Battle lines are clearly being drawn.

There’s a man with a gun over there.  His name is Julius Malema and it’s a scattergun he’s packing. His intervention into the Eskom saga was well-organised and effective. He phoned in to Talk Radio 702 at around 5:30pm, during the David O’Sullivan Show.  He couldn’t quite keep it together to keep his phone on.  During the SABC 3 7pm news, it became obvious why. He’d been doing the camera thing.

And what he had to say carried quite a punch. “Maroga didn’t sign a letter. Godsell cannot show us a letter because there is no letter”. At least Jacob Maroga is taking Malema’s calls (he’s certainly not taking the media’s). But it seems more likely that Maroga is the one dialling the right number here. Malema’s support is massive in this. It changes the equation considerably, and will really kick-start the speculation about who Godsell had to rush off to see.

Malema has also been slightly more measured in his tone on this one. For a start, he really seems to know something that Godsell may have missed. Whoever can prove Maroga’s resignation letter actually exists or not, will win this one. And Malema has obviously been told by Maroga himself that there is no letter.

The youth league leader likes to win his battles, but he’s tried this strategy before and it hasn’t worked. The Siyabonga Gama affair at Transnet didn’t end well for the league. They got fully behind him, and Gama’s got less chance of running that company than Godsell and Maroga have of kissing and making up … in public.

So he’s probably chosen this one more carefully.

Maroga’s also got other allies. The Black Management Forum has already weighed in on this and is likely to do so again.

This type of intervention follows the time-honoured story. It’s a white plot against a deserving black CEO who doesn’t sing and a dance like he should. It’s about black workers, who now want to run the show and be responsible for a budget heading well into the billions. Nothing but truth or not, it is an argument that should be considered, because this is how many people are going to feel. (Also, there ARE unreconstructed white managers who may well share a joke, a knowing smile, be a part of an unspoken conspiracy. We can’t ignore that.)

But Malema also forgets about blind reality. The board has 12 members. Maroga’s one, so he doesn’t get to vote.  But there are five other black people on the board.  They’re not going to be shrinking violets.  Sorry Julius, the race argument won’t wash, not this time.

But something’s gone wrong. Now Godsell will have to produce a letter that doesn’t seem to exist.  Which may mean there’s been a problem of interpretation. Things must have been said between Maroga and the board.  In anger, communication lines disappear, and things escalate. If this goes to court, it’s going to hinge on what was said. And in those cases, whoever wins in writing, wins (apparently Dali Mpofu is acting as an advocate again).

Maroga’s playing a good political game here. But he’s up against a couple of smart cookies.  Godsell is no idiot, and his reputation is now seriously on the line. Barbara Hogan has yet to intervene publicly. And Malema has made sure he’s got an escape route. He’ll “accept a decision, if it comes from the minister”. Or president, we presume.

It’s going to be a fun ride. Thank God it’s Friday.

By Stephen Grootes
Grootes is an Eyewitness News reporter


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz