After continuous failings, Ramokgopa makes a new promise on ending loadshedding

Issued by Samantha Graham-Mare MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
12 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Mare MP

The Minister of Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, appears not to have learnt his lesson from the many failed promises repeatedly claiming that South Africa had turned the corner and was on course to end loadshedding. With the ongoing lower levels of loadshedding that we have experienced lately, Ramakgopa has once again made an optimistic claim that the ANC government is resolving the loadshedding crisis “in the next year”.

The reality is that we are nowhere near ending loadshedding in South Africa, unless we do more to address increasing our generation capacity, expanding our transmission network and collecting revenue at the point of distribution.

Dr Ramokgopa has placed much of his hopes for resolving of loadshedding on Kusile. And, while the return to service of units 1 to 4, and the commissioning of unit 5 will have a positive impact on the Energy Availability Factor, this is only one of a myriad generating facilities that feed into our energy grid. In addition, the repairs to units 1, 2 and 3 are temporary and at some point, these units will have to be taken off line again in order to effect the permanent repairs. The “energy cost” of this is around 2400 MW.

In the meantime, Eskom are working around the clock to try and catch up on long overdue maintenance on its system in order to address the maintenance backlog which is further complicating the generation of electricity as unplanned breakdowns continue to create havoc with loadshedding stages.

Many of our coal-fired power stations are nearing the end of their lives and it is clear that, rather than look at mechanisms for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, Dr Ramokgopa is doubling down with Minister Gwede Mantashe on the idea of extensions of life for coal powered stations. This myopic approach might appear to be a quick and easy solution to the crisis, but it overlooks several critical issues:

• Firstly, South Africa has access to $8.5 billion grant and concessional funding available from Europe and the USA to assist with a just transition to clean energy. This includes mechanisms for converting old power stations into green energy hubs. South Africa has undertaken to follow this process with President Cyril Ramaphosa fully behind the process; and

• Secondly, extending the life of coal-fired power stations will require massive financial commitment in order to ensure that they are functioning at an optimal level. There is no money in government for this and nor will South Africa be able to loan money for this as it is in contravention of the international trend towards clean energy.

What Dr Ramokgopa and Minister Mantashe, in their stubborn adherence to the idea that a just energy transition will cost jobs in the coal supply chain, are missing is that if we do not, as a country, begin the move towards renewable energy as a major priority, the imposition of carbon tax on all South African exports is going to have a devastating effect on our agriculture and manufacturing.

The Democratic Alliance is demonstrating that the positive impact that a rapid roll-out of renewable energy as part of the current energy mix is one of the quickest, but also one of the long-term solutions to creating a stable energy system in South Africa. The Western Cape model should be adopted in every province and as part of the process for just energy transition in South Africa.

I reiterate my call for Dr Ramokgopa to accompany me on a tour of the Western Cape energy projects in order for him to understand that green energy can be developed while dirty energy is phased out without devastating the economy or negatively affecting energy provision.

The latest about turn from the Electricity Minister is just another example of why South Africa needs to be rescued from the ANC – they have no new ideas and their stagnation will continue to destroy our country.

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