President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the proposed Minister of Electricity will take full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response and will lead the National Energy Crisis Committee to urgently end load shedding. The President made this announcement in response to the debate on the State of the Nation Address, where he introduced the new Minister of Electricity, who will be based in the Presidency. President Ramaphosa emphasized that effective coordination across several departments and public entities is required to resolve the energy crisis and that the Minister of Electricity will work with other Cabinet ministers, departments, and entities to address load shedding.
To dispel confusion about the roles of the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, President Ramaphosa clarified their key responsibilities. The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy deals with energy policy and mineral resources, while the Minister of Public Enterprises is executing the recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission and the State Owned Enterprises Council regarding the ownership and governance of state-owned enterprises. The Minister of Electricity, on the other hand, will focus solely on addressing the load shedding crisis and will lead the National Energy Crisis Committee.
President Ramaphosa also reiterated that the National State of Disaster declared in relation to the energy crisis will enable the government to accelerate the implementation of the Energy Action Plan, announced last July, and move urgently to mitigate the social and economic effects of load shedding. He added that the state of disaster will eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles that hinder bringing new generation capacity onto the grid and ensure continuity in the provision of critical services and supply chains.
Although the country remains heavily reliant on coal as an energy source, the President confirmed that South Africa is committed to a future energy mix that includes renewable, nuclear, gas, hydro, storage, and bio-mass energies. He emphasized that unbundling Eskom and creating a competitive energy production market will wholly benefit the country’s future energy security. President Ramaphosa assured South Africans that the combination of all the steps the government is taking, along with the work being done at the state power utility, will address the energy crisis.