Western Cape Aims to End Load Shedding Under DA Leadership

April 30, 2024, Cape Town — Alan Winde, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Premier candidate for the Western Cape, today vowed to make the province the first in South Africa to eliminate load shedding. Addressing a gathering at the University of Johannesburg’s School of Public Management, Governance, and Public Policy, Winde presented a robust plan to tackle the persistent power crises that have stifled economic growth and affected daily lives across the region.

Impact of Load Shedding on the Western Cape

  • Economic Toll: The province has reportedly lost up to R61.2 billion in real GDP since the onset of load shedding.
  • 2023 Losses: Specifically, in 2023, load shedding cost the Western Cape economy an estimated R12.8 billion.

DA’s Strategic Energy Initiatives

  • Energy Council Establishment: In 2022, the Western Cape Energy Council was formed to spearhead the province’s comprehensive energy strategy.
  • Renewable Energy Goals: The plan includes generating 5,700 MW of energy by 2035, with 835 MW already sourced from solar PV installations.
  • Municipal Support: The Western Cape Energy Resilience programme aids municipalities in adopting renewable energy projects. Currently, 24 municipalities are integrating Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG), with 21 offering electricity feedback compensation.

Funding and Infrastructure Investments

  • Budget Allocation: Nearly R7 billion is earmarked over three years to bolster the province’s energy resilience.
  • Municipal Energy Resilience Initiative: This initiative has identified over 100 potential energy projects, aiming to add 2,000 MWs to the market.
  • Riversdale Project: A notable R210 million renewable energy project in Riversdale is set to reduce local power cuts significantly.
Also Read:   Eskom's Weekend Load-Shedding Schedule with Planned Break

Supporting Vulnerable Communities and Education

  • Relief Packs: The DA has distributed 3,996 loadshedding relief packs to assist individuals in shelter and care facilities, and plans to deliver 96,000 packs to vulnerable students to aid their studies during power outages.

Healthcare and Emergency Services

  • Critical Infrastructure: Investments ensure that 195 health facilities, including New Somerset Hospital, have generators to operate during load shedding up to Stage 6.

Business and Economic Development

  • Alternative Energy Support Programme: Installed solar backup systems at 12 municipal SMME trading hubs across seven municipalities, helping sustain over 100 jobs even during power cuts.
  • Green Economy Support: Over 5,159 businesses benefit from direct assistance through this initiative.

City of Cape Town’s Commitment

  • Investment in Infrastructure: The city plans to spend R480 million this year as part of its Loadshedding Protection Plan, with a total of over R4 billion slated for grid upgrades over the next three years.

Renewable Energy Expansion

  • Major Projects: A large-scale solar power plant near Somerset West is set to add 13.5 MWp to the grid, marking a significant step towards reducing reliance on Eskom.

Political and Operational Outlook

  • Winde criticized the ANC’s handling of the energy crisis and stressed that recent improvements were due to decreased demand rather than any significant uplift in Eskom’s operational efficiency, which he noted is still declining. He emphasized the need for ongoing robust management and innovation in energy solutions to truly overcome the challenges of load shedding.
Also Read:   South African Retailers Grapple with Slumping Sales

As the Western Cape prepares for the upcoming elections on May 29, Winde’s message is clear: the DA is ready to continue its proactive approach to solve the energy crisis, promising a brighter, more stable future for the residents of the Western Cape.

This content was generated by artificial intelligence - more information