Business has called on government to ensure that there’s energy security in the country to prevent small companies from collapsing. It made the call during African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa’s engagement with civil society organisations at the Johannesburg City Hall on Saturday.
At the engagement, the Black Business Council called for the improvement of energy availability at coal-fired power stations. Deputy president of the Black Business Council, Gregory Mofokeng says although renewables are seen as new sources of energy, fixing all the coal-fired power stations remains the best solution to the country’s energy crisis.
Mofokeng elaborates, “When I listen to minister Mantashe, we have to fix the assets that we have. We have power stations that need to be fixed and that will give us the energy that we need. Our economy is under-performing because of a lack of energy. If you are running a small business you can’t afford to close for 4 – 6 hours. We must fix the energy crisis and renewables won’t be able to fix the problem of base load.”
Speaking at Saturday’s engagement, President Ramaphosa admitted that he never consulted the ANC and its alliance partners on the appointment of the new Electricity Minister.
The ANC normally consults with its alliance partners on key policies and even on the constitution of its executive in government. But this time, President Cyril Ramaphosa admits he decided on his own to have a minister of electricity. This was met with fierce criticism from alliance partners COSATU and the SACP, who questioned the rationale.
However, immediately after these partners registered their concerns, the president went back to them and consulted widely.
“When I decided that we should have a minister of electricity, I hadn’t even briefed my colleagues in the ANC. Some of them said, I heard the president has taken a decision on his own. Some of you say I consult too much and don’t take a decision. I said that is your problem. Sometimes I will consult and sometimes I won’t consult. You better get used to it. That’s how I’m rolling now,” says Ramaphosa.