Delayed tabling of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill was an act of economic sabotage

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

Please find attached a soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy, Sahlulele Luzipo, requesting that the committee adopts a resolution condemning the unethical conduct of the Minister of the Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, for deliberately delaying the tabling of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill (ERA) in an act of wilful sabotage.

It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the ERA Bill will be finalised by the end of 2023 or even by the end of this parliamentary term in mid 2024, given the legislative backlog, the parliamentary programme, and the lengthy process needed to finalise the Bill. The ERA Bill is a critical piece of legislation that will establish a competitive electricity trading market, with multiple electricity generators to compete with Eskom.

It is clear that Mantashe and the ANC government, in deference to labour unions, have deliberately slowed down the processing of ERA Bill because the Minister knew that Parliament would not have enough time to properly apply their minds to the Bill and pass it. This is all part of a wider plan to preserve Eskom’s monopoly, push Mantashe’s fossil fuel agenda and frustrate the transition to renewable energy.

Considering the fact that failure to pass the ERA Bill will have a cooling effect on private sector investment in the electricity sector, Mantashe and the ANC government must be held directly responsible for what is essentially an act of economic sabotage. If no new generation capacity is brought online in the short to medium term, South Africa’s loadshedding crisis is likely to take longer to be resolved thereby further damaging an already fragile economy.

Since his appointment to the energy portfolio, Mantashe has been a major stumbling block to electricity reform in South Africa. Ramaphosa has chosen to turn a blind eye because of the quid pro quo relationship that they have. We have a President that has chosen to elevate his own political survival within the ANC by refusing to fire a Minister who is clearly intent on keeping South Africa locked in loadshedding longer than is necessary.

Parliament must send a clear message to Mantashe that it takes great exception to his clear abuse of office for failing to table the ERA Bill on time. By deliberately engaging in an act of economic sabotage, the ANC has proven that it is no longer fit to govern and must be voted out of office in the 2024 national elections.

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