Amidst heightened debates, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa stands firm on the allocation of R30 billion for diesel to alleviate escalating load-shedding stages at Eskom.
- Objective: The expenditure, according to Ramokgopa, aims at shielding an already struggling economy.
- The Domino Effect: “Last year alone, more than 620,000 people lost their jobs,” he highlighted, attributing a significant portion to load shedding. Amplify the stage, and the employment landscape darkens even further.
- The Staggering Costs: “Stage 6 load shedding was costing the country R1 billion a day, and that was unsustainable,” Ramokgopa elaborated.
- The Diesel Defense: In his words, “R30bn directed at burning diesel…must be understood relative to the risks associated with not burning diesel. We know that Stage 6 load shedding can cost the country R1bn a day. Stage 6 for 2022 resulted in over 620,000 people losing jobs as a direct result of load shedding.”
- Agricultural Agony: Farmers grapple with competitiveness, as 24% of their production hinges on consistent energy. Ramokgopa cited, “They were sharing with me that 24% of their production relies on quality and reliable energy supply.”
- Financial Strains: Load shedding propels inflation, pinching the common man. While food shelves remain stocked, affordability is a challenge for many.
The Bigger Picture:
Pondering the colossal R30 billion, Ramokgopa posed a rhetorical scenario, “When you compute R30bn, you ask the question, can I burn R30bn to save R365bn per annum to the South African economy, undermine the further contraction of the South African economy, save jobs, and save lives? If you were to do that modelling, the answer is simple. For now, we need to make that investment.”
While Ramokgopa staunchly defends the immediate diesel expenditure, he also accentuates the need for enhanced power station performance, hinting at future infrastructural improvements.
Decisions surrounding Eskom’s power management and financial allocations inevitably intertwine with broader economic implications. As the discourse unfolds, Minister Ramokgopa’s perspectives shed light on the balancing act between short-term remedies and long-term vision.