Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is due to sign a joint memorandum of cooperation with Chinese energy entities tomorrow, fuelling optimism about a move towards an end to load shedding. Bloomberg reported recently that, among other factors, the cooperation will help solar power installers in South Africa secure access to panels for projects to help reduce the load on the national grid. Ramokgopa travelled to China in June to meet six of the nation’s biggest solar equipment manufacturers in a bid to pave the way to access to panels and counter persistent blackouts. Along with several other strategic deals concluded yesterday,…
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is due to sign a joint memorandum of cooperation with Chinese energy entities tomorrow, fuelling optimism about a move towards an end to load shedding.
Bloomberg reported recently that, among other factors, the cooperation will help solar power installers in South Africa secure access to panels for projects to help reduce the load on the national grid.
Ramokgopa travelled to China in June to meet six of the nation’s biggest solar equipment manufacturers in a bid to pave the way to access to panels and counter persistent blackouts.
Along with several other strategic deals concluded yesterday, analysts have hailed as significant the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to South Africa.
Xi has described each time he visited the country as having given him “new impressions”.
“But the deepest is invariably the brotherly sentiments we have toward each other,” said Xi. “Our friendship has traversed a long span of time.
“As early as in the mid-20th century, the newly founded People’s Republic of China lent firm support to the South African people in fighting apartheid – standing with the African National Congress as comrades and friends.
“Our friendship has defied the obstacles of mountains and oceans. Facing the sudden onslaught of Covid, China was among the first to provide anti-pandemic supplies to South Africa, reaffirming our special brotherhood.”
Amid the pomp and ceremony of welcoming Xi at the Union Buildings, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the visit coincided with 25 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.
“We are grateful for the support and friendship that China has provided as we have worked to rebuild and transform our country after the devastation of apartheid,” said Ramaphosa.
“We recall with gratitude the solidarity demonstrated by China during the Covid pandemic, when it supplied much-needed equipment, materials and vaccines to African countries.
“During this state visit, South Africa and China have reaffirmed political support for each other’s core interests. We also agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure development, energy, tourism, education, training and digital technologies.”
China, said Ramaphosa, was South Africa’s largest trading partner and SA was “China’s biggest trading partner in Africa”.
“We have discussed the need to narrow the trade deficit between South Africa and China,” said Ramaphosa.
“One of the ways to do this is by ensuring greater market access for value-added South African export goods into the Chinese market.
“We have discussed areas of synergy in line with the call by South Africa and other African countries for the reform of institutions of global governance – the United Nations Security Council.
“We agree that the interests of the global south must be fairly represented on all multilateral fora.” Political analysts David Monyae of the University of Johannesburg and Paul Tembe of the University of South Africa described Xi’s visit as significant.
“Given the state of our energy crisis, South Africa needs China more than before,” said Monyae.
“China is an expert on energy because they have an energy surplus and knowledge of how to beef up Eskom – and dealing with issues of green technologies and solar panels.
“There is a need for the two countries to think more seriously bilaterally and multilaterally for the continent.
“From the signed agreements, we expect more centres of training for our people in China and in SA to use some of the techniques that China is using and making a turnaround in their economy using energy.”
Monyae said Xi has played “a critical role in strengthening the relationship between South Africa and China and Africa”.
“Under President Xi’s leadership, we have seen the relationship going to strategic partnership and initiatives that he has embarked upon, such as the Belt and Road, are not far from the aspirations of South African people and the continent through Agenda 2063,” said Monyae.
“We have seen major projects in infrastructure development and in science and technology.
“The role Xi will be playing along with Ramaphosa is going to be interesting, in strengthening the voice of the global south – creating the environment to deal with multilateral issues and poverty alleviation.”
Said Tembe: “The symbolism of President Xi coming here is to assert and endorse all other statements that he has made before.
“Brics has now asserted itself, with 42 nations having shown interest in joining Brics.”