Fikile Mbalula has warned Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to work faster to iron out problems at Transnet – or he might just lose his job.
During ANC secretary-general Mbalula’s speech at the ANC Women’s League’s national election conference in Johannesburg on Saturday, he told delegates that the party expects ministers and prime ministers to perform.
He singled out Gordhan and said he must work faster to fix the problems plaguing the country’s railway system – and said if he did not do so, he would be removed from his post.
“Comrade Pravin, move faster – otherwise we will remove you,” said Mbalula.
In a statement that Mbalula issued after the speech, he said that he did not ask in his speech that Gordhan should be removed.
“It was only a clarion call to speed up policy interventions to tackle the country’s rail and freight logistics challenges,” says Mbalula.
“The party does not have the luxury of time and must move quickly to resolve challenges that threaten the income of South Africans.”
Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, spokesperson for the ANC, then said that the Minister of Public Enterprises – Gordhan – cannot alone provide solutions for the country’s rail transport system.
“A wake-up call to the minister to accelerate policy interventions to tackle our rail and freight logistics is not a call for his removal,” said Bhengu-Motsiri.
Mbalula, also a former transport minister, blamed the high death rate on the country’s roads on the increasing presence of trucks on the roads carrying goods that can be transported by rail.
“People are dying because of the number of trucks on the roads. Trucks must come off the road and goods must be transported by rail.”
Gordhan recently announced that a new board had been appointed at Transnet to turn around the struggling state enterprise.