Home Business Ramaphosa to appoint Electricity Minister to work with Eskom board

Ramaphosa to appoint Electricity Minister to work with Eskom board

by Thys Khiba
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Cooling towers at a coal-based power station owned by state power utility Eskom in Duhva, South Africa, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

By Thys Khiba – President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced on Thursday night during his state of the nation address (SONA) that a Minister of Electricity will be appointed to deal with electricity crisis in the country.

“To deal more effectively and urgently with the challenges that confront us, I will appoint a Minister of Electricity in the Presidency to assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response, including the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee,” said Ramaphosa.

South Africans are confronted by power cuts challenges which affects the economy, businesses, water supply and households.

The Minister is expected to work with the Eskom board and management on ending power cuts and making sure that the announced Energy Action Plan is implemented without delay.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhanis expected to remain the shareholder representative of Eskom and steer the restructuring of Eskom.

Gordhan has to ensure the establishment of the transmission company, oversee the implementation of the just energy transition programme, and oversee the establishment of the SOE Holding Company.

Trying to defend his decision of appointing a new minister of electricity, Ramaphosa said: ‘Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.

South Africa head of state indicated no delay will be allowed in implementing measures that will assist the country to deal with the energy crisis.

As we take these actions to resolve the energy crisis, we are mindful of the risks that climate change poses to our society.

Extreme weather events in the form of drought, floods and wild fires increasingly pose a risk to the health, well-being and safety of people,” Ramaphosa said.

The country is expected to proceed with the just transition to a low carbon economy.

According to Ramaphosa, the just transition will be implemented in a manner that will open the possibility of new investments, new industrialisation and creates new jobs.

The Presidential Climate Commission is guiding much of this work, and, in doing so, building a new model for inclusive and collective decision making, incorporating the individuals, workers, and communities that are most affected in the transition,” said Ramaphosa.

More than R1 trillion is expected to be invested in the South African economy via the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan.

Through the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, R1.5 trillion will be invested in our economy over the next five years in new frontiers such as renewable energy, green hydrogen and electric vehicles.

Several new sectors are emerging in the economy, such as major green hydrogen, electric vehicles and fuel cells.

A number of Projects are already underway, including the development of a new facility by Sasol at Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape, the Prieska Power Reserve in the Free State, and the Hydrogen Valley initiative in Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Ramaphosa.

According to the president, the Northern Cape province has already attracted over R100 billion in investments in renewable energy projects, to create jobs and stimulate local economies in the province, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

President Cyril Ramaphosa state of the nation address 2023



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