March 13, 2023


3 min read

There is some hope for load shedding in South Africa: business leader

There is some hope for load shedding in South Africa: business leader

The new SA electricity minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Story highlights

    Mavuso says the crisis exacerbated by lack of alignment with private sector
    New electricity minister is reportedly saying the right things and making right moves

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ALTHOUGH a slew of bad news has surrounded the energy crisis in South Africa, big business is positive that steps are being taken in the right direction.

Busi Mavuso, the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), says that the new minister of electricity is, so far, saying the right things and making the right moves, with his first week on the job engaging with various stakeholders about how to deal with the energy crisis.

The executive said that the minister has started off on the front foot, and could reinforce the country’s plan to deal with rolling blackouts and assist in smoothing the implementation of the energy crisis plan.

Following a recent meeting with the new electricity minister, Kgosientso Ramakgopa, Mavuso said that the minister’s department was quick to reach out to businesses at large and ensure that they become a critical stakeholder in dealing with the crisis.

Mavuso said that the crisis has recently been exacerbated by a lack of alignment with the private sector – and despite policies and plans being put in place, turf wars and ideological standoffs have stifled progress.

However, steps are being taken in the right direction.

One such step has been the allocation of R100 million put up by big businesses to help load shedding. On 10 March, pledges from local and international donors were obtained under the Resource Mobilisation Fund (RMF).

The funds aim to assist the National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom) to institute the energy action plan. The R100 million will also be used to procure relevant skilled expertise, among other things.

“The Resource Mobilisation Fund exists only to receive and raise donations, procure capacity and skillsets, donate these to Necom and then report back appropriately,” and won’t engage in policy advocacy, said Martin Kingston, the executive chairman of the local unit of Rothschild & Co.

Rudi Dicks, the head of the South African presidency’s project management office, said that Necom would use the fund to obtain experts in project management, legal matters, and energy modelling.

President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of the fund in accelerating Necom’s work and engaging the country’s top experts to address load shedding.

According to Ramaphosa, five key interventions are the focus of Necom, namely:

  1. Fix Eskom and improve the existing electricity supply
  2. Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity
  3. Accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and
  1. battery storage
  2. Unleash businesses and households to rollout investment in rooftop solar
  3. Fundamentally transform the electricity sector

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Work through Necom is already underway, Mavuso said, highlighting that it had been used to drive the issuance of a battery procurement round and the lifting of the licencing threshold for private generation.

“The plan is a good one – it does reflect the best options we have as a country to end the load-shedding crisis as soon as possible. It will take years to firmly put the crisis behind us, but the plan has the right balance of short-term wins and long-term fixes,” Mavuso said.

“There is accelerating momentum, and I felt that keenly last week in engaging the minister and in the launch of the RMF,” she said. -  BusinessTech

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