by Andile Sicetsha
Ramaphosa speaks out on Eskom
The president, in his weekly ‘on the desk’ statement, noted that the technical issues faced by several power stations — which ultimately led to the rolling blackouts — was indicative of the problems Eskom faces.
The long-term solution, Ramaphosa said, was the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that was recently announced. For the government, the IRP is a “policy blueprint for the country’s industrial, commercial and household energy needs until 2030.”
“The IRP supports a diversified energy mix that includes coal, natural gas, renewable energy, battery storage and nuclear power. Because coal remains the dominant energy source for our country, we will be focusing on attracting investment in high-efficiency low emissions coal technologies. South Africa has to reduce its carbon emissions in line with our commitments at the climate change conference held in Paris in 2015. Many other nations have made commitments to reduce their own carbon emissions,” Ramaphosa explained.
New CEO on the way
He revealed, however, that there are pertinent issues regarding energy supply, that are being addressed. The details of the approach to stabilising Eskom, in the short-term, are featured in a special paper that will soon be presented in Parliament.
Furthermore, Ramaphosa revealed that this special paper would be crucial in guiding the incoming permanent CEO of the power utility, an appointment that will be announced very soon.
The president noted that the complexity of Eskom’s troubles have been further exacerbated by its escalating debt.
‘The sheer scale of Eskom’s debt is daunting. Further bailouts are putting pressure on an already constrained fiscus. As government has made clear, the most recent support to Eskom comes with stringent conditions. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure must be stopped,” he said.
“Boycotting payment of services has no part in today’s SA”
Ramaphosa conceded to Eskom’s failure to collect its debt of R23.5-billion from municipalities and individual users. While the issue regarding the metros was being addressed, the president noted that individual users still maintained the attitude oppressed South Africans had during apartheid.
“The culture of non-payment exists in several parts of the country. Boycotting payment for services had a place in apartheid South Africa. It was an effective tool to mobilise communities against an unjust system. But it has no place in present-day South Africa. If public utilities like Eskom are to survive, then all users need to pay for the services they receive,” he exclaimed.