In a press conference held yesterday, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, denied any conflict of interest with Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
The press conference comes in the wake of rumors circulating about an alleged rift between the two over their respective departments’ responsibilities with regards to the current energy crisis in the country.
Mantashe addressed the allegations head-on, stating that he is working closely with Ramokgopa in a joint effort to end load shedding that has been plaguing South Africans for years. He also mentioned that both departments, as well as Cabinet and President Cyril Ramaphosa, are fully committed to bringing an end to load shedding.
According to Mantashe’s statement during oral questions in the National Council of Provinces, Ramokgopa is leading the execution of the Energy Action Plan, aimed at resolving the crisis and eliminating load shedding. He further emphasized that there is no competition between the two ministries and denied that there are any significant disagreements or conflicts on this issue.
Mantashe went on to say that in the immediate term, the priority is increasing the energy availability factor in power stations to drastically reduce load shedding. He also clarified that, contrary to the reports, there is no shortage of coal in the country.
However, the minister did concede that the quality of coal delivered to power stations is not up to par. He mentioned that he and Ramokgopa have discussed this issue, and they are committed to finding a solution.
The minister of energy also backed renewable energy as a long-term solution, stating that he had overseen the delivery of more renewable projects in just four years than his predecessors did in 11 years. He sees renewables as an essential part of the country’s future energy plans while genuinely addressing the immediate electricity crisis.
Overall, Mantashe is steadfast in his commitment to find long-lasting solutions to the load shedding crisis, and together with his counterpart Ramokgopa, they are working tirelessly to end load shedding once and for all.