Mantashe still uncertain if he will support Ramokgopa’s new energy plan

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says he cannot confirm at this stage if he will support the new energy plan by the Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.

Mantashe says the proposal must first be thoroughly discussed at both cabinet and the ANC NEC.


The Minister was speaking at an event to launch the first Setiri Resources’ underground operation in Ogies – Mpumalanga.

The company is Eskom’s largest coal supplier.

The powers of the Ramokgopa have not yet been clearly defined.

But there’s are concerns that he may take away certain roles and responsibilities that currently reside with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy as well as Public Enterprises Ministry.

Since taking office about two months ago, the Electricity Minister has been on a fact-finding mission at the country’s power stations.

This has culminated in a detailed short to long term action plan to address South Africa’s energy crisis.

Mantashe says the new Electricity Minister should be supported in his efforts.

“I love what he is doing, going to power stations because the electricity availability factor is at the power station. If we fix them, we will not get load shedded. We are going to be supporting him. If we apply our minds to the optimising of coal power stations. Must fix all the power stations they must not give us less than 50%.”

The proposal has already been taken to cabinet and the ANC National Working Committee for consideration.

But Mantashe says the plan must first be thoroughly interrogated to see if it will be practical.

“I will be part of the discussions, that’s all I can say, until we see the proposal we can’t now say we will support it, it’s not an ideological issue but a practical issue but I will be part of the discussions both in cabinet and the NEC.”

While it’s not clear if Mantashe will agree with Ramokgopa’s new plan, the two men share a common view on the recommissioning of old power stations.

The launch of the new underground coal operation by Seriti will go a long way to boost coal production for Eskom’s power stations and create jobs.

Seriti Mines CEO Mike Teke says, “We want to create jobs, this project here will see jobs and those jobs are going to create spin offs for the Phala community, for the Orgies community and we will see a lot of suppliers. That’s the economic activity. Coal will still be here, we will mine it safely and we are excited about this project as it will give us another 25 years.”

The company teamed up with Blue Mining for the conversion of the open cast coal mine into an underground venture which it says will see around 150 contractors roped in and over 1 000 jobs created as they push for safety.

 Seriti Mines will create jobs:

Blue Mining CEO Greg Dane says, “We are passionate about safety and the environment, also about our people and communities and commit to contribute to social development, job creation and uplifting our people in this mining communities.”

The workers have described this as a new era that will see community development and young people get well needed jobs through at the mine.

The South African mining production continues to experience a decline in numbers with those that gathered here for the new Seriti underground mine believing that this new coal mine will help change the phase of coal mining in the country.

They believe in going green but say if we are to solve the energy crisis coal has to form part of the future.