Witness Reporter
3 minute read
6 Jul 2022

IFP calls on president to address the nation on Eskom crisis

Witness Reporter

The Inkatha Freedom Party has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the nation on the ever-growing Eskom crisis.

President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to a statement released by the party, many South Africans are forced to spend almost 12 hours a day, over the past few days without electricity.

“We can confidently state that Eskom is most certainly not meeting expectations. Rather, it is spectacularly failing to deliver on its most basic mandate: to keep the lights on,” reads the statement.

They added that the Eskom crisis is clearly a national crisis of epic proportions, with a devastating socio-economic impact.

The IFP said that the Minister of Public Enterprises, in a response to a parliamentary question, said that he gives Eskom his full support and is confident that the Eskom CEO and management will turnaround Eskom’s generation performance and reduce the load shedding that is affecting our economy.

“In February, Treasury committed another R21.9 billion of the Budget to Eskom for 2022/23: yet now, we have more extreme loadshedding than ever before.

“It is apparent that there is an absence of leadership – both politically and administratively. The Minister, Eskom Board, and its executive are not fit-for-purpose,” read the statement.

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The party has demanded consequences, calling for the Department of Public Enterprises to be dismantled, and all entities to be placed in their line function departments.

“Regarding Eskom: the stranglehold they have on the country’s electricity supply must be broken. Public-private partnerships must be fast-tracked, and municipal capacity strengthened for the distribution of electricity. Red-tape and other administrative obstacles hampering independent power producers from delivering must be removed,” read the statement.

They added that the economy will not survive.

Meanwhile, the National Planning Commission (NPC) has also made public their concerns on the persistence of loadshedding, now reaching Stage 6 and the proposed urgent measures to end the load shedding crisis.

According to the group, they have taken note of recent government efforts to reform the energy supply industry, saying that they note the interventions of Operation Vulindlela help to ensure timely implementation of solutions.

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They also said that they welcome the statement that the President is leading the response to the energy crisis, however, they feel that the most immediate priority is to ensure that new generation capacity is rapidly and urgently brought onto the grid, together with significant new storage capacity.

“Evidence suggests it is possible to do this within 24 months if 10 000 MW of new generation capacity is rapidly constructed and commissioned as well as 5000 MW of storage capacity,” read the statement.

They added that solar and wind power projects can be built rapidly within two to three years.

The group added that to achieve the overall goal of 10 000 MW of new generation capacity and 5 000 MW of storage, it will be necessary to remove key obstacles.

Jotting down their views on the issue, the group said that the 100MW ceiling should be removed because Eskom’s grid code and grid connection authorisation process is sufficient to regulate this growing market.

“Any Nersa registration process that delays implementation of projects should be scrapped and replaced with an online registration procedure for database purposes only.

“Environmental and water use approvals must be streamlined, to take advantage of the Renewable Energy Development Zone framework that allows for fast-tracking of approvals,” read the statement.

They added that there must be a temporary exemption from local content requirements for construction and commissioning of new generation and storage capacity due to come online in the next 36 months.

“In parallel, key stakeholders should reach a formal agreement that strikes a balance between short-term importation of components with the need for phasing in upstream industrialization over the medium- to long-term,” read the statement.

According to the group, it will be important to ensure that finance is mobilised for short- and longer-term investments in new energy generation and storage capacity.