Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that financially viable municipalities can now procure their own electricity from independent power producers.

Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening, listing measures to increase energy generating capacity outside of Eskom.

The EFF walked out of Parliament yesterday, raising objections to former President FW De Klerk’s presence in the house and demanding that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan be fired.

Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, Malema says: “Ramaphosa’s SONA was a repetition of ideas that he shows no ability to implement. The most concrete commitment is the one to privatise Eskom and our SOEs. It is sealed and dusted. The state will now allow municipalities to enter into exploitative contracts with IPPs. A strategic entity that is supposed to drive development is going into the hands of greedy capitalists who have no obligation to provide affordable electricity to our people, even in the most remote areas.”

Watch Malema’s full media briefing In Cape Town below:

Eskom, DA welcome announcement

Meanwhile, Eskom has welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement, saying the decision is in the best interest of the economy.

Eskom Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the power utility is receptive to any measures that will help the country obtain more power generating capacity.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is also in favour of the announcement as the party has been pushing for independence from Eskom as the sole energy supplier as the country battles rolling blackouts.

Member of Provincial Parliament Deidre Baartman says this is a step in the right direction.

“Over 80% of all Western Cape municipalities have already passed legislation to source energy independently. I am glad that the President has heeded our call. All financially sustainable municipalities who applied for Section 34 determinations should receive approval to procure energy directly.”

-Additional reporting by Lynne Arendse