South Africans have already spent 27% of this year without electricity. This amounts to 49 full days of load shedding – the same amount of time without electricity in the last four years combined, says Samantha Graham-Maré, the DA’s shadow minister for electricity.
“In four days, with no end in sight of load shedding, we will have experienced more load shedding in 2023 than in the last 10 years combined. Despite assurances from the Minister of Electricity, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the situation is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.”
Koeberg’s upgrade of unit 1 is way behind schedule and it will likely deepen the power crisis and there are few to no real solutions on the table, says Graham-Maré.
“The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has dragged his feet on the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill. It has only now been tabled before parliament. The integrated resources plan, which has been overdue since 2021 and is the electricity blueprint for the country, has still not been tabled. Moreover, the latest regulations on renewable energy will be an immeasurable setback for that solution.”
Graham-Maré believes that the appointment of the National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom), together with the appointment of the minister of electricity and the drawing up of an energy action plan, should have already led to an improvement in the load shedding that is crippling the country.
“Load shedding is at an unprecedented level and there were only two days this year without load shedding. It is also discouraging to note that, despite the $8.4 billion made available from the international community to South Africa for the implementation of the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, not a single activity from this plan has yet been introduced to tackle our energy challenges. Instead, we are addressed weekly by Minister Ramokgopa about interventions that have not yielded any results so far.”
The Democratic Alliance calls on the minister, as head of the Necom, to provide the six-month update (which is now overdue) on the energy action plan. The party also requests that the energy action plan, in the absence of the integrated resources plan, be made available for a detailed road map – with costs and time frame – that will tackle the country’s power crisis in the short, medium and long term.
“The shotgun approach currently being used by the government is clearly not working. South Africa deserves to know that the minister and his team view the crisis in a serious light and are not simply trying to plug holes before the elections in 2024. It is time for South African voters to take back their power. A new DA-led administration, committed to the welfare of all citizens, and not just a privileged few, can bring hope to our country and tackle the issues of load shedding and revitalize our energy infrastructure.”