Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa promises ‘measures’ to end load shedding are coming soon

The president says black industrialists cannot grow without a reliable supply of affordable energy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated that government will soon announce a package of measures to provide an effective response to South Africa’s energy crisis and end load shedding.

Ramaphosa on Wednesday delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The president said government needed to “act decisively and urgently” to end the country’s electricity crisis, which he said was causing damage to the economy and disrupting society.

“Load shedding is disrupting your own business operations and frustrating your efforts to reach higher levels of growth.

“Like every other actor in the economy, black industrialists can simply not grow without a reliable supply of affordable energy. That is a reality and that is the truth,” Ramaphosa said.

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The Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference aims to showcase the progress of government measures in promoting access and transformation of more black industrialists in the economy and the opportunities that the Africa Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) offers.

Reliable and affordable energy

Ramaphosa said like every other actor in the economy, black industrialists could simply not grow without a reliable supply of affordable energy.

“We have done much over the last four years to transform the country’s energy landscape and bring new generation capacity online. But that is not enough. And we need to move faster,” he said.

Ramaphosa said he had brought together all the relevant government departments and entities to work on an integrated set of measures to add additional power to the grid in the shortest possible time.

This comes as Eskom battles to keep the lights on due to a shortage of generation capacity and years of neglected maintenance at its power stations.

“We are currently engaged in consultations with social partners on these measures, and will soon be able to announce a package of measures that provides an effective response to our energy crisis,” the president said.

Challenges facing black entrepreneurs

Self-employment and entrepreneurship were the engines of growth and job creation in any economy, Ramaphosa said.

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He said some of the challenges facing emerging black industrialists were access to finance, markets, technology and infrastructure as well as government red tape and other bureaucratic obstacles.

“We need to talk about private sector procurement, about value chains, about access to financing for emerging black business and about how existing systems militate against emerging black business.

“We need to talk about the inefficiencies in the economy that affect established and emerging businesses alike.”

Payment of suppliers

Among the other obstacles, Ramaphosa admitted that the non-compliance by some government departments and entities with payment of suppliers’ invoices within 30 days was destroying black business.

“One of the issues that you will want to raise, which you must raise, is how if you transact with government we’re able to give you opportunities. But at the same time, we destroy you by not paying you on time or not paying you at all,” he said.

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