Cape Town – New Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has assured South Africans that all the country’s energy problems would be resolved.
Talking to the media on Tuesday, Ramokgopa said he would unveil an implementation plan shortly to deal with load shedding.
“Will load shedding end tomorrow? No. It’s definitely not going to go away. But as the president says, the severity and regularity of load shedding is something that’s on our radar and we will share with you our implementation plan.
“The resources and which entitles are responsible, which parts of society will take the lead and ultimately the executive authority – I’ll drive that,” Eye Witness News quoted Ramokgopa as saying.
Ramokgopa, 48, was appointed as the inaugural electricity minister during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle on Monday.
“The primary task of the new minister will be to significantly reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding (electricity outages) as a matter of urgency,” said Ramaphosa
Years of scheduled blackouts have plunged the country into darkness, as Eskom – saddled with constantly breaking down generating plants – fails to meet demand.
Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says he will be hands-on in solving the energy crisis. “This is one of the few occasions you will find me wearing a suit… We’re on the ground… I am an engineer, and engineers are trained to resolve problems.#Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/bkZfIDFL68
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) March 7, 2023
The power cuts have reached new extremes, with the country experiencing a record 207 days of power outages last year alone, compared to 75 days in 2021.
Outages cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost output each day.
According to IOL, Ramokgopa said he understood the frustrations of South Africans, but his immediate task would be to ensure that all the problems around the energy crisis were resolved as speedily as possible.
“I am more than confident that we will be able to resolve load shedding, we will come back with the timelines,” he said.
From Thursday, he would be meeting with key stakeholders and had already met Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana.
“This is one of the few occasions you will see me wearing a suit. I am a project manager; project managers are on the ground. What helps me is that I am an engineer. I am ready for the fight,” the report quoted Ramokgopa as saying.
He said he would also meet Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu
Additional information by AFP