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Don’t be fooled by Ramaphoria 2.0, King Gwede rules South Africa

Don’t be fooled by Ramaphoria 2.0, King Gwede rules South Africa

Make no mistake — Gwede Mantashe now rules South Africa. We should probably get to know him better, so that we don’t fall into the same old sorry delusions we always do.

Oh boy, the pundit class is at it again.

A new, milder form of Ramaphoria 2.0 is sweeping our news feeds, with the bizarre assertion that Cyril Ramaphosa “won” December’s ANC electoral conference, having installed “his” people in top positions within the National Executive Committee. He will now be able to “clean up” the ANC and the government bureaucracy, while advancing whatever policies his committees recommend to him.

This is laughable.

First, no one seems to be asking what Ramaphosa had to give up in order to secure this “win”. Second, even fewer pundits seem to be concerned with the person who orchestrated this outcome. That would be Samson Gwede Mantashe, who emerged from December’s conference by far the most powerful man in South Africa, and the de facto winner of the ANC’s pantomime of democratic contestation.

But who is Gwede Mantashe? We know that he is the Minister of the Department of Minerals and Energy, and we know he loves fossil fuels. But if he’s the actual president of South Africa — which we contend he is — shouldn’t we know more about his origin story, and how he’s played the field so successfully?

In Daily Maverick’s hit podcast The Highwaymen — South Africa’s top news podcast for the past 12 weeks, according to Apple — we insist that Gwede is the boss, and to an extent has been for the past 15 years. We explain his back story, his hopes, and his dreams for a Saudi Arabian-style oil sheikdom led by, well, Gwede — our very own coal-dusted Wizard of Oz.

Make no mistake: Gwede, who was reelected ANC chairperson at the December conference, now rules South Africa. 

We should probably get to know him better, so that we don’t fall into the same old sorry delusions we always do.

Listen to episodes six and seven of The Highwaymen:

As we delve into Mantashe’s life, we learn about his history in organised labour, and the role unions played in bringing down apartheid. But as the democratic age deepened, organised labour became embedded in the ANC, and Mantashe became the company man — a genial version of a mob boss. 

Gwede Mantashe presides over the most important portfolio in the Cabinet — mining and energy. He’s run it like a fiefdom, trying to shut down any real commitment to a green energy transition. 

We also explore how Mantashe aided and abetted State Capture, and the slow but sure creep toward a gangster state — and all-out gang warfare. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Inge Evenwel says:

    God save South Africa. Gwede would make ANY deal for self-gain. He doesn’t care about the poor or the masses only himself. AND now he will steer Eskom? God help us all

  • Inge Evenwel says:

    Gwede is to Ramaphosa who the Guptas were to Zuma.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    You have only to listen to Mantashe to feel an unpleasant miasma is be fogging the issues and dismissing all decent south Africans as unworthy of a proper answer or respect.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    . . . Beware of fake news – I take this with a pinch of salt. What is going on is that much of what Gwede says is appeasing ANC supporters (so it is just rhetoric), while there are other issues at play too that impacts on the roll-out of the renewables, but which is blamed on him because people don’t know better. For instance, the reason why, in this last batch of renewable energy contracts authorisations that was signed, there were no new wind farms, is because the grid to the Eastern Cape where most new wind farms will be located according to my information, is now used to full capacity. We should keep in mind that the grid was designed to take the vast majority of GW input from the Mpumalanga area, while the renewable energy will mostly be delivered from the Eastern (wind) and Northern (sun) Cape. So some upgrading of the grid from those areas has to happen first to enhance its’ capacity – and I believe Eskom has been too cash-strapped due to the debt incurred with the Kusile and Medupi costs to be able to do that. It is probably why the government agreed to take over part of Eskom’s debt; so they can manage to do these critical upgrades to prepare SA for the future. So not everything is Gwede’s fault – the coal lobby is being fired up by him, that is true, but at least he has now already signed authorizations for contracts for 1.9 GW of renewables. We still need more, but other infrastructure has to be built also before the electricity can be delivered.

  • Theart Korsten says:

    Brilliant show! Well done to the whole team.
    I am astounded that with all this information at hand, we seem to be slowly sinking into a similar quagmire of Nigerian politics, corruption and patronage. Perhaps that is the ANC’s “secret plan”.
    The team at the Daily Maverick are relentless. Thank you ALL for highlighting and exposing these corrupt thieves and gangsters.
    It makes me wonder if our President will have the energy and courage to oust them all. It is such a sad state of affairs. As Rodrigues sings, “It started out so nice.”

  • Ann Bown says:

    Isn’t he a lover of Johnny Blue? Isn’t he the guy who tells good jokes and pays for drinks all round? Isn’t he the guy that no one can understand what he says? Yep he’s that guy, the Karpowership guy and more…now he will oversee Eskom and be a real Samson of light and energy! We are in for a crazy ride.

  • Clifton Mansfield says:

    Please assist the podcasts are not streaming

  • Paul Savage says:

    If the NPA would only do its job, the Highwaymen would all be in prison. I guess that’s why the ANC never adequately funds the NPA.

  • Ian Coates Coates says:

    Roelf Pretorius delivers a more realistic insight into what is hobbling and frustrating the adoption of any form of realistic adoption of “renewable” to fill the growing gaps being left by “Coal-fired Eskom”.

    Just like The Post Office, Transnet, Portnet etc. etc., it is actually the gross indifference towards long-term preventive maintenance and the need for (transmission and distribution network) infrastructure expansion and continuous upgrades that hinders any immediate transition to renewables.

    Grumpy Gwede’s incomprehensible mumblings only further confuse and obfuscate, of course.

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