The Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Kevin Mileham said on Friday that Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa's remarks, which suggest there is no urgency to unbundle Eskom, spread further uncertainty among investors with stakes in independent power generation projects across the country.
Mileham says South Africa needs clear direction and policy certainty during a crippling energy crisis.
This week, Ramokgopa embarked on a tour of South Africa’s power stations and during one of the visits, he stated that corruption was not a significant factor in Eskom’s problems.
The DA wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to “rein in” Ramokgopa, and provide the new Minister with a clear set of expectations.
Mileham said Ramokgopa’s recent remarks showed that his appointment was an African National Congress (ANC) cadre deployment tactic.
He accused Ramokgopa of being set on reversing the little reform that had been made in the energy sector over the years.
“With one reckless remark, Ramokgopa has shown that his new portfolio was created without any real plan in place. That no one from the ANC government has called him to order, least of all, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, confirms the long-held suspicion that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” said Mileham.
He added that independent experts had warned that any delays to unbundle Eskom would severely constrain an Independent Transmission System Operator's ability to raise capital and do the much-needed grid investments to unlock new generation capacity.
In the last round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, 23 projects could not be awarded owing to grid constraints.
Mileham warned that sending mixed signals to energy investors would only exacerbate South Africa’s woes.
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