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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Load shedding: Is the worst really over, or is Cyril Ramaphosa wishful?

'Measures outlined lack substance' - expert.

If wishes were lights, South Africans would just switch them on – the load shedding crisis again made it onto the President’s priority list this year.

Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the 2024 State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Cape Town on Thursday.

During his speech, Ramaphosa promised the country’s power crisis was nearly over.

“We are confident that the worst is behind us and the end of load shedding is finally within reach.

“We are on track to resolve the most important constraints on economic growth by stabilising our energy supply and fixing our logistics system,” Ramaphosa said.

Ironically, shortly after the broadcast ended, Stage 4 load shedding kicked in – leaving South Africans to ponder on the president’s promises in the dark.

READ MORE: Sona 2024: ‘Worst is behind us,’ says Ramaphosa about load shedding

‘No substance’

Weighing in, expert and Chief Product Officer at Rubicon, Nick Roche said Ramaphosa’s speech lacked detail and a concrete plan of action.

“While promises to end load shedding and drive a green energy transition may sound promising, the measures outlined in the 2024 Sona lack substance,” he said.

“At Stage 4, we are around 4 gigawatts or 20% short of the power we need, so promises of an end to load shedding may simply be wishful thinking,” he explained.

ALSO READ: ‘Democracy’s child’: Ramaphosa touts ANC’s 30-year track record at Sona 2024

What’s the plan, Mr President?

Among Ramaphosa’s plans to reform the country’s energy system is the construction of 14 000 km of new transmission lines to enable the move towards renewable energy.

“To fast-track this process, we will enable private investment in transmission infrastructure through a variety of innovative investment models,” said Ramaphosa.

He explained that government would undertake the transition to renewable energy at a cost-effective pace and scale, and in a manner that would ensure the country’s energy security.

ALSO READ: ‘I am looking for a pen’- What Ramaphosa said about the NHI at Sona

Yes, but how?

While new transmission lines will go a long way in alleviating pressure off the grid, many are concerned that the roadmap to a land of perpetual power remains unclear.

Emphasising on the urgent need for additional power supply, Roche said some ground work still needed to be done.

“We must start transitioning to green power, but at the same time, we have to address the power shortage and get the baseload power infrastructure stable,” he said.

“Injecting green power into the grid at utility scale and industrial and manufacturing facilities, can help to kill two birds with one stone,” he added.

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