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The announcement by Eskom that South Africa would be returning to Stage 6 load shedding from 12:00 today, comes as no real surprise.
President Ramaphosa and his cabal of Electricity Ministers - Gordhan, Ramokgopa and Mantashe - have dropped the ball on the electricity crisis and have made no real progress in implementing solutions.
We need to acknowledge that the priority must be addressing the shortfall of generation. Despite Minister Ramokgopa's frequent reassurances, the energy availability factor - the percentage of generation capacity actually producing electricity - of Eskom’s generation fleet is nowhere near 70%. In fact, it has barely reached 60%! This means that the ANC government's much-vaunted Energy Action Plan to stave off the worst of load-shedding is failing. And Ramokgopa has little to show for his efforts.
Equally, Gwede Mantashe must carry a lot of the blame. Where is the new generation capacity that was supposed to come online from the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPP)? None of those projects are anywhere near adding extra megawatts to the grid, and the Karpoweship projects have failed utterly to meet the various hard deadlines the RMIPPP imposed while locking up sorely needed grid capacity.
At the same time, Mantashe must answer for his failure to launch Bid Window 7 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). In addition, we still await the updated and amended Integrated Resource Plan - South Africa's electricity generation road map, which Mantashe has been promising for months.
The reality is that the country would be in a far worse situation if it wasn't for the independent power producers and the rapid growth in private generation for own consumption by business, industrial and residential customers.
The ANC government, in addition to being the primary cause of the electricity crisis through corruption, cadre deployment, maladministration and sheer incompetence, are equally to blame for the obstacles that are being thrown in the path of implementing real solutions. It is time this government was shown the door, and a party with proven track record of fighting to keep the lights on is given the opportunity to restore power to the people.
The DA is committed to ensuring a secure, sustainable, and affordable supply of Electricity to all the people of South Africa.
Issued by Kevin Mileham MP - DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy