Cape Town – Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan says South Africa would have to endure a “significant order” of load shedding until the end of the year.
The minister said this on Tuesday while presenting his department’s budget vote to the National Assembly.
“We now know that we have to, as the population and the economy, settle for load shedding of a significant order until the end of the year, at least,” EWN quoted Gordhan as saying.
Gordhan emphasised the urgent need for new capacity and the extension of the grid to address the country’s power supply issues. He highlighted the government’s commitment to providing R254 billion in debt relief over the next three years to Eskom, aiming to support the power utility in achieving its strategic objectives of improving energy supply.
Eskom has been grappling with a shortage of capacity that could extend until August, posing a chilly outlook for the upcoming winter season. However, the government has said that it is working diligently to avoid stage 8 power cuts, assuring citizens that every effort will be made to maintain as much power generation as possible.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says citizens should settle for load shedding until at least December this year. He says the desired energy availability factor, which is set to end load shedding, is on track to be achieved in March 2025.#MorningLive #SABCNews
— MorningLiveSABC (@MorningLiveSABC) May 24, 2023
To alleviate the situation, the government plans to purchase emergency power, extend the lifespan of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, and ensure the full operational capacity of the Kusile and Medupi power stations, Gordhan said.
He highlighted the government’s target to increase the country’s energy availability factor to 70% by March 2024.
Meanwhile, according to News24, the minister expressed concern over South Africa’s slow procurement of renewable energy and its lack of preparedness for energy challenges due to the absence of an updated energy plan.
He emphasised the crucial role of Eskom and Transnet in driving economic growth and stressed the necessity of reforming state-owned enterprises as a matter of urgency.
“Renewables elsewhere in the world take a much shorter time to implement than in SA, and we have the opportunity to reduce much of the red tape and shorten the processes required if we have the political will and administrative will to actually do so. Similarly, had IRP 19 (Integrated Resource Plan) been commenced two years ago, we would be in a better position than we are today, the report quoted Gordhan as saying.
He added: “Clearly, a new vaccine of urgency needs to be inserted into our systems to ensure red tape is reduced and many of the problems we are faced with overcome in time,” he continued.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu