DA position on Karpowerships gets buy-in from Ramokgopa

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP and Kevin Mileham MP –
24 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

The DA welcomes the buy-in from the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, into our long-held position that the government should not enter into a 20-year contract with Karpowerships. Not only is this not “emergency procurement” but it places an unnecessary burden on the fiscus that South Africa can ill-afford.

We hold the firm view that contracts of no more than 5 years (and preferably shorter) should be considered and that these should only be renewed based on demonstrated need.

We welcome Ramokgopa’s stance against the absurdity of a 20-year albatross around the necks of South Africans, in stark contrast to the Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe – who still insists on a long-term Karpowership deal. Mantashe’s stubborn insistence on insisting on a R220 billion commitment with Karpowership, with no accrual benefits to South Africa’s infrastructure, lends credence to suspicions that there are attempts to use the deal for rent-seeking purposes by the ANC.

Speaking soon after his visit to Kusile Power Station, Ramokgopa is reported to have said that Karpowerships can’t be a long-term solution to load shedding and the proposed deal should not be more than five years. The reality is that three Karpowership ships will only be able to produce 1220MW of electricity, an output that will only address one stage of load-shedding stage, and will not make any significant difference to the ongoing electricity crisis.

With the ANC appearing to be in a rush to ram through the Karpowership deal at whatever cost, the DA took the initiative to submit a PAIA application to the Minister of Transport, Lydia Chikunga, requesting that she provides the record of the decision that informed her Ministry’s decision to issue a section 79 directive that instructs Transnet National Ports Authority to provide harbour space for Karpowerships for the next 20 years.

In addition, we call on the Minister of Environment, Barbara Creecy, to lift the veil of secrecy on the Karpowership environmental clearance applications that are currently under consideration in her office. Transparency is being sacrificed for expediency by the ANC government as it pursues quick-fix measures to cover up its monumental failure to address the electricity crisis.

An evergreen contract for 20 years is not emergency procurement. It is theft from the South African people and must be rejected outright.