The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s plans to redress South Africa’s energy sector are far too late, says the Democratic Alliance.
The opposition party responded to a statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources, on Tuesday. In this, Mantashe said urgent and immediate interventions are needed to ensure that the country’s energy sector does not collapse completely and that economic growth can be continued.
Some of the proposals made by the Minister are the publication of a request for information on immediate options available to generate power in the short term. Furthermore, Mantashe requested that the contents of Art. 34 should be announced.
According to this article, competent municipalities and large power consumers will be allowed to procure power directly from independent power producers (OKP).
Mantashe also said that the ICPs’ projects will come into effect sooner, while citizens and businesses will be encouraged to make more use of liquefied petroleum gas (VPG).
“We welcome the interventions, but unfortunately it is already too late. The art. 34 decisions have been on the table for months, ”says Kevin Mileham, the DA’s shadow energy minister.
Furthermore, there is still too much uncertainty regarding the request for information for OKP generation, he believes.
“The OKP office has been set up to coordinate independent generators’ projects and is recognized worldwide as one of the best in launching such projects. New OKP projects (especially in the renewable sector) are ready to begin.
“They are just waiting for the projects to be approved, in order to provide electricity solutions that are more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. These solutions can also be implemented in a much shorter time than would be needed to build new coal, gas or nuclear plants, ”says Mileham.
Similarly, the minister should ease the regulation on licensing of small-scale plants (below 10 MW) and residential generation, he adds.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has also started a court case to buy “cleaner energy” directly from OKPs and improve energy security. This step comes as the energy crisis in South Africa reaches a new high and phase 6 load shedding was applied for the first time earlier this week.
The city intends to approach the judge president with other parties and the case will be heard in the Gauteng High Court in May 2020. If the application is successful, the city wants to request public tenders.
The civil rights organization AfriForum has also launched a petition so that citizens can voice their dissatisfaction with Eskom. The petition puts numerous demands on Pravin Gordhan, Public Works Minister Mantashe and Jabu Mabuza, the acting chief executive of the Eskom group.
The demands include speeding up Eskom’s unbundling, curbing corruption, finalizing contracts with ICPs faster, better communication from Eskom to nationals on load shedding, and sharing the status of each of its power generation units with the public.