(Bloomberg) --

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inner circle is urging him to replace the country’s energy minister when he overhauls his cabinet in the coming weeks, City Press reported, citing people it didn’t identify. 

Ramaphosa’s supporters want him to move Gwede Mantashe to a different portfolio before the energy department takes over responsibility for power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the newspaper said. The president’s allies believe Mantashe “should no longer have anything to do with Eskom,” it said.

Last month, the governing African National Congress resolved that state companies operating in specific economic sectors should be overseen by the relevant government departments.

The government is facing sharp criticism over its handling of Eskom after blackouts were imposed on more than 200 days last year and every day so far in 2023. The cash-strapped utility, which produces almost all the nation’s electricity, implements outages to protect the grid from collapse when its aging, mostly coal-fired fleet can’t generate enough power to meet demand.

Ramaphosa is reluctant to move Mantashe, who is also chairman of the ANC, Johannesburg-based City Press said.

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