The DA will submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the office of the Deputy President, David Mabuza, to obtain meeting minutes of the Eskom task team, previously known as the Eskom war room, dating back to its formation in 2014.
With energy experts warning that the country may possibly be heading towards stage 4 rolling blackouts, South Africans have a right to know what the task team has done from 2014 to date to address electricity challenges facing the country, in line with its mandate.
The inter-ministerial Eskom task team, initially headed by then-Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and currently under the authority of Mabuza, was established to oversee the turnaround of Eskom and deal with the electricity crisis. However, with a worsening energy crisis in the country, the task team has to account for the work it has done to try and ameliorate the crisis.
On several occasions, Ramaphosa and Mabuza have used the task team as a diversion to evade accountability by claiming that its existence was clear evidence that the electricity crisis was receiving urgent attention from the highest levels of government. If that is the case, the ANC government now has an opportunity to share with the rest of the country the task team’s efforts in addressing an electricity crisis that threatens to sink what remains of the South African economy.
In addition to shedding light on the extent to which the government has gone in freeing up the energy sector to enable increased participation of Independent Power Producers (IPPs), the Eskom task team meeting minutes will help reveal whether any progress has been made in meeting the 5 point plan targets it set for itself when it was formed:
- harnessing the cogeneration opportunity through the extension of existing contracts with the private sector;
- accelerating the programme for substitution of diesel with gas to fire up the diesel power plants;
- launching a coal independent power producer programme; and
- managing demand through specific interventions within residential dwellings, public and commercial buildings and municipalities through retrofitting energy-efficient technologies.
Loadsheding poses a clear and present danger to South Africa’s economy and any government intervention instituted to address this crisis should be transparent and accountable to the people. Mabuza should show leadership and be honest on the progress made by the Eskom task team by acceding to our request for its meeting minutes.