South Africa: Energy Crisis – President Ramaphosa Announces Action Plan

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a set of actions to respond to South Africa's years-long energy crisis. "The crisis that we are facing requires that we should take bold, courageous and decisive action to close the electricity gap," he said in a televised address to the nation, continuing that, "as government, we are announcing a number of interventions to overcome the immediate crisis". Ramaphosa acknowledged that the recent bout of rolling blackouts had made clear that "the actions we have taken, and continue to take, are not enough". He announced a five-step action plan:

  • Improving the performance of power utility Eskom's existing fleet of power stations;
  • Accelerating the procurement of new generation capacity;
  • Massively increasing private investment in generation capacity;
  • Enabling businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar;
  • Fundamentally transforming the electricity sector and positioning it for future sustainability. According to IOL, national power utility Eskom will increase its budget over the next 12 months. This will be geared towards extensive maintenance of its power stations. Additionally, the bureaucratic paperwork surrounding the procurement of maintenance spares and parts would be eased. Eskom will also import and purchase excess power from neighbouring SADC nations.

Ramaphosa also noted the challenge faced by the lack of skilled personnel at the power utility. "One of the challenges that Eskom has faced has been the shortage of skilled personnel and engineers. "The utility is now recruiting skilled personnel, including former senior Eskom plant managers and engineers from the private sector. These skilled personnel will support various personnel and help to ensure that world-class operating and maintenance procedures are reinstated," Ramaphosa said.

Sustainable energy will also be given greater focus with climate funding allocated according to the Just Energy Transition Partnership and the construction of what will be the first solar and battery storage projects at the Komati, Majuba, Lethabo and several other power stations. These are expected to generate over 500MW. Ramaphosa promised additional action to curb acts of theft, fraud and sabotage would be fall under the administration of a new special law enforcement team to be created within the South African Police Service.

With the nation reeling from nearly two months of load shedding – partly as a result of strike action from Eskom workers – Ramaphosa also announced the establishment of an energy crisis committee to directly oversee the new efforts against the energy crisis. "To ensure that these measures are implemented in a coordinated manner, I have established a National Energy Crisis Committee. The committee is chaired by the Director-General in the Presidency, and brings together all the departments and entities involved in the provision of electricity. The National Energy Crisis Committee will draw on the best available expertise from business, labour, professional engineering entities and community-based organisations. The relevant ministers will report to me directly on a regular basis to ensure that we move quickly to implement these actions," he said.

Artmotion S.Africa

Web Search Engine

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button