Paving the Way for Power
Four months after announcing Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as the new Electricity Minister, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that he’s still hammering out the budget details for the nascent ministry. This is a crucial step, given the department’s legislative responsibilities.
According to Ramaphosa, the presidency is working with the National Treasury to finalize the budget allocation for the ministry. He added that intergovernmental coordination has been initiated to leverage available resources and address the national energy crisis more effectively.
Questions from Parliament
These revelations came to light during a parliamentary Q&A session. EFF MP Omphile Maotwe sought clarity on the total budget set aside for Ramokgopa’s ministry and its funding sources. It’s worth noting that despite the ministerial reshuffle in March, the new ministry remains without a dedicated budget, and no parliamentary oversight portfolio is in place for it yet.
A Powerful Mandate
Ramaphosa explained that Ramokgopa’s appointment was driven by the urgent need to curb the persistent and disruptive load shedding. The minister’s extensive mandate includes overseeing all aspects of the crisis response. This includes managing the National Energy Crisis Committee and executing the Energy Action Plan.
Furthermore, Ramokgopa has been tasked with the coordination of numerous departments involved in the crisis response. He will also collaborate with Eskom’s leadership to improve the existing power stations’ performance and hasten the procurement of new generation capacity.
On May 24, Ramaphosa transferred to Ramokgopa all powers and functions contained in Section 34(1) of the Electricity Regulation Act, which were previously held by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
In line with the legislation, Ramokgopa, in consultation with the regulator, can determine new generation capacity requirements, decide on the types of energy sources for electricity generation, and other related tasks. These powers place him at the forefront of South Africa’s ongoing battle against load shedding and its efforts to ensure a stable supply of electricity.