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SONA 2023: No new plans from Ramaphosa

by Thys Khiba
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During his state of the nation address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that his government is not going to present new plans, rather will focus on Load shedding,Unemployment, Poverty and the rising cost of living, and Crime and corruption.

By Thys Khiba – During his state of the nation address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that his government is not going to present new plans, rather will focus on Load shedding,Unemployment, Poverty and the rising cost of living, and Crime and corruption.

We are not presenting new plans, nor are we outlining here the full programme of government. Rather we are concentrating on those issues that concern South Africans the most: Load shedding, Unemployment, Poverty and the rising cost of living, Crime and corruption,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa indicated that his priority is to restore energy security.

What we can do is to fix the problem today, to keep the lights on tomorrow and for generations to come,” Ramaphosa said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday deliver the State of the Nation Address at the Cape Town City Hall.

In 2022 July, he announced a plan to deal with the energy crisis and electricity shortfall of 4,000 to 6,000 MW.
The plan outlined five key interventions:

Fix Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and improve the availability of existing supply.
Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity.
Accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage.
Unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar.
Fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve long-term energy security.

We have taken steps to improve the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations so that the coal-fired power stations that provide 80 per cent of our electricity produce the amount of electricity for which they were designed.

Under its new board, Eskom is deploying people and resources to improve the reliability of the six power stations that have contributed the most to load shedding,” said Ramaphosa.

The power utility Eskom is prioritising construction of a temporary solution to bring back three units at Kusilepower station.

This follows the collapse of a chimney stack in 2022 last year.

The Engineering Council of South Africa is assistingEskom by deploying engineers to work with the management teams at power stations.

We are rebuilding the skills that have been lost and have already recruited skilled personnel at senior levels to be deployed at underperforming power stations.

Dealing with Eskom’s debt burden, finance minister is finalising a R400 billion which will enable the power utility to make necessary investments in maintenance and transmission.

Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster onelectricity crisis and its effects.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has just gazetted the declaration of the State of Disaster, which will begin with immediate effect.

The state of disaster will enable us to provide practical measures that we need to take to support businesses in the food production, storage and retail supply chain, including for the rollout of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power supply.

Where technically possible, it will enable us to exempt critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment plants from load shedding,” Ramaphosa said.

Meanwhile, the opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, John Steenhuisen confirmed his party will challenge the declaration of a National State of Disaster byRamaphosa in court.

The DA will not sit back and allow the ANC to abuse the electricity disaster it created to loot and further abuse the people of South Africa.

In the absence of any real solutions to the permanent load shedding crisis created by the ANC, President Cyril Ramaphosa during his SONA address desperately grasped at the straw of a sweeping National State of Disaster,” said Ramaphosa.

Steenhuisen said South Africans cannot survive another round of the looting and irrationality that happened during the Covid pandemic.

“Last time around, the lack of accountability under a National State of Disaster enables Minister NkosazanaDlamini-Zuma – who is again in charge of managing the ANC-made load shedding disaster.

Instead of punishing the people with a sweeping disaster declaration for the damage wrought by decades of ANC corruption and cadre deployment at Eskom, we reiterate our call to urgently loosen the regulatory noose around the electricity system’s neck by incentivising massive private sector investment in generation, and removing impediments like localisation requirements and BEE to enable Eskom to recruit the skilled people it so desperately needs to speed-up maintenance and unbundling.

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