The town of Frankfort is now ground zero for energy independence from Eskom

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP and Ghaleb Cachalia MP –
12 Apr 2023 in News

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Yesterday, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Kevin Mileham and DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprise, Ghaleb Cachalia visited the town of Frankfort in the Free State to engage with stakeholders on how the town’s plan to become more resilient with regards to loadshedding was being frustrated by Eskom.

As part of our onsite engagement, we met with representatives from the private power distributor responsible for the municipal distribution network, Rural Maintenance, Mafube Business Forum and Mafube Local Municipality. We were able to establish that Eskom is threatening to prevent Rural Maintenance from setting reduced loadshedding schedules for Frankfort, despite procuring additional solar power. Rural Maintenance has been buying electricity from four solar farms in the area and supplying it to Frankfort.

Following Eskom’s intransigence and unreasonable demands, Rural Maintenance decided to approach the court for interim relief and a judgement is expected sometime this week. Depending on the outcome of the court case, the DA stands ready to join Rural Mantainance and the residents of Frankfort in any subsequent court challenges that they may embark on to protect their right to free themselves from Eskom loadshedding.

It is completely unacceptable that 3 years after the publication of Electricity Regulations on New Generation Capacity, allowing municipalities in good financial standing to generate their own electricity, Eskom has decided to act like a village bully and keep the town of Frankfort within the grip of its loadshedding embrace.

Even more telling is that there hasn’t been any attempt from ANC government Ministers in the Energy Cluster to tell Eskom to stand down and allow Frankfort residents to secure their own energy future.

Instead of supporting Frankfort’s efforts to mitigate loadshedding and lessen the load on the constrained national grid, we now have a situation where Eskom would rather protect its own monopoly than embrace additional generation capacity.

The DA delivered a clear message to all the stakeholders in Frankfort – we will not allow Eskom to bully them and we are prepared to use every tool available to us to ensure that they benefit fully from their local power sources. That Eskom has seen fit to prevent the town of Frankfort from becoming self-reliant in terms of power, confirms the policy discord that continues to permeate within the ANC government – where the right hand does not know what the left is doing.