Electricity crisis continues: Minister warns of tough times ahead

Electricity Minister, Kgosientso Ramokgopa has announced that the country’s power problems will persist and are unlikely to be solved by the end of the year. While briefing the media on the ANC national executive committee’s plan to end load shedding, the minister revealed that they proposed a plan to create about 12 000MW of additional electricity capacity on a short-term basis. However, South Africans should brace themselves for tough times ahead.

What’s included in the plan?

Ramokgopa’s plan to ease load shedding over the next six months includes ramping up the usage of Eskom’s emergency diesel-powered generators, improving the performance of the power utility’s five worst performing power stations and exempting a number of national key points from blackouts. Additionally, the minister is looking to generate about 4 500MW of power in the next six months and then 12 500MW in the following six to 18 months.

Any power struggle among ministers?

Following unclear allocation of powers by President Cyril Ramaphosa, there have been reports of a power struggle among the three ministers, including Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. However, ANC head of economic transformation, Mmamoloko Kubayi has denied any strife among the ministers.

It was reported that Mantashe and Gordhan are against Ramokgopa’s presentation of privatising some power plants and going green. But Ramokgopa said he never wanted government entities to be privatised, but suggested that private companies must help because government does not own coal mines.

What’s the way forward?

While Ramokgopa plans to bring back some coal-fired power plants to ease load shedding, he is also negotiating with Mozambican officials to purchase additional power which will assist in the future. Additionally, the government plans to protect national key points including power stations to prevent sabotage. The minister said they are working on a plan to exempt government entities such as correctional centres, hospitals, clinics and police stations from load shedding.

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It is clear that South Africans need to brace themselves for some tough times ahead concerning electricity. However, the minister’s plan to alleviate the problem through a multi-tiered approach is encouraging, and we hope the plan comes to fruition soon.