Mantashe reveals incompetence to address electricity crisis

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
15 Jan 2023 in News

Minister Gwede Mantashe has once again proven he is completely out of his depth when it comes to the electricity crisis in South Africa.

Mantashe has repeatedly claimed that Eskom must “just” turn on the generation units which are offline and loadshedding will be solved.

What he is ignoring is why those units are offline, and the time period it will take to bring them back online. And while units are brought online on a regular basis after repairs and maintenance, others go offline for various reasons including faults, sabotage, necessary routine maintenance and even refueling (in the case of Koeberg).

Kusile, one of South Africa’s newest coal fired plants, has just one generation unit (out of six) operating. It is anticipated that some of the units will be returned to service in the second quarter of 2023. Koeberg will essentially be operating at half its installed capacity for the next 12 to 18 months, as life extension work, routine maintenance and refueling is undertaken. And this is just two of Eskom’s nearly 30 power plants.

There are 3 vital steps to resolving South Africa’s electricity crisis:

  1. Building new generation capacity – this will only take place outside of Eskom, because the state owned entity is essentially bankrupt;
  2. Upgrading South Africa’s grid infrastructure to facilitate offtake from generation; and
  3. Incentivising domestic, commercial and municipal customers to reduce their reliance on Eskom through an aggressive rooftop solar roll out and demand side management.

Mantashe has once again nailed his colours to the mast of failed ANC policy and fossil fuel hangovers.

It is past time that he was fired, and a new Energy Minister appointed to deal with South Africa’s electricity crisis convincingly and with speed.