Cosatu: Govt has been making promises to fix SA electricity crisis

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Cosatu: Govt has been making promises to fix SA electricity crisis

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association said government’s energy action plan signalled continued growth in the solar sector.

FILE: Interventions include Eskom now purchasing additional energy from existing private generators such as mines. Picture: 123rf.com
  • Eskom
  • Cosatu
  • Load shedding

JOHANNESBURG – There’s been widespread reaction to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of government’s grand plan to save embattled Eskom and improve the country’s electricity crisis.

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association said government’s energy action plan signalled continued growth in the solar sector.

Ramaphosa has outlined that his administration will tackle head-on Eskom’s electricity shortages that saw the country recently plunged into stage 6 load shedding.

Interventions include Eskom now purchasing additional energy from existing private generators such as mines, paper mills, shopping centres and other private entities that have surplus power.

However, Cosatu said government had previously committed to alleviate South Africa’s electricity challenges, but these promises yielded no practical change.

Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla said: “A commitment is just that; it doesn’t really fix anything as to when we see an improvement on the ground and progress when it comes to implementation, that is when we will really be able to assess.”

The Photovoltaic Industry Association’s Frank Spencer said the solar energy sector had been growing steadily over the past decade.

“But it has been predominantly, regulatory and procurement hurdles have slowed down the sector but the fact that these hurdles are being reduced and government is promoting a further renewable option, I think solar is going to become the way forward from having been something that has been looked down on the past.”

At the same time, the South African Wind Energy Association CEO, Niveshen Govender, believes government’s energy plan sharply focuses on the key areas of concern.

“We see this as the right steps to creating an open energy system that will attract more investment, create jobs and benefit South Africa as a whole.”

Pamla, however, stressed load shedding is unsustainable for an economy with an almost 46% unemployment rate.

“There were no timeframes; any interventions should come with timeframes.”

The president said government’s interventions would allow them to limit load shedding to lower stages and reduce the risk of severe power cuts in future.

WATCH: President Ramaphosa’s address on energy crisis

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