‘Project Manager’ Ramokgopa postpones statement on Energy Plan

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
11 May 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, at the eleventh hour, postponed his highly anticipated address to Parliament today. The Minister was expected make an “Executive Statement on the Energy Plan Activities and Short to Medium Term Interventions to Limit the Intensity and Frequency of Load Shedding”.

No reasons for this postponement were provided.

We are enveloped in a crisis, bordering on a catastrophe and instead of working towards a solution, Sputla Ramokgopa is playing at being a Minister.

On Monday, Minister Ramokgopa admitted that despite bearing the title of Minister of Electricity, he is a Minister in name only. Tasked with solving the electricity crisis that has a death grip on South Africa, the Minister has, by his own admission, neither the executive powers, nor any real mandate to deliver us from darkness and is a “project manager” only.

While we were not privy to the contents of the Minister’s statement, the DA was hopeful that, at the very least, the following aspects would have been addressed by Minister Ramokgopa:

  • That the government will stop misleading the country with respect to the seriousness of the crisis. On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Obed Bapela stated that we are not yet fully on Stage 8 – a bizarre admission given that according to Eskom we are currently only on Stage 6. So where are we on the spectrum? And why can government not be honest about this?
  • That President Ramaphosa has resolved the issue of territoriality between the three Ministers who have concurrent functions around electricity in order to ensure that Minister Ramokgopa has the scope, mandate and powers to do what he has been tasked to do – fix the loadshedding crisis.
  • That the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) has recognised the potential of a total grid failure and are in the process of drafting emergency disaster protocols to ensure continuity of essential services, government stability and the safety and security of citizens for such an eventuality.
  • That the Open-Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs), which burn diesel to generate electricity, are being driven beyond their design capacity. This is not a sustainable solution, either in the short or medium term, and is not the only answer to addressing the winter demand. Accordingly, we wish to hear that additional contingency measures are being sought to supplement the OCGTs or replace them, in the event that they fail.
  • That the Minister and NECOM have engaged with all stakeholders, including government, business and the NPO sector, to identify alternative sources of heating, lighting and cooking for communities that cannot afford alternative energy systems. Poor people, now more than ever, are going to require assistance to cope with the cold winter that will not only put them at risk of burning to death, but also of becoming ill from smoke inhalation because of indoor fires.

Despite his somewhat rocky start, Minister Ramokgopa should know that every person in this country is willing him to succeed. And he has promised us results. But, unless we start to see more “Sputla” and less splutter from the Minister, we face a devastating, dark and deadly winter.