Political parties react to Ramaphosa’s interventions to solve the energy crisis

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The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to help solve the country’s power crisis.

Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday night, announcing the establishment of a National Energy Crisis Committee.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe says, “We do welcome what one would refer to as party interventions that our government is going to be putting in place to deal with the energy crisis. But also, it contributes to the removal of the red tape. The President spoke about removing red tape, going as far as saying that households and businesses will be incentivised through rooftop solar installation – just by selling their excess power and energy back to Eskom.”

Eskom will buy electricity from IPPs and import from Zambia and Botswana:

The DA says they have been calling for the interventions for several years.

The DA’s Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Kevin Mileham says, “We welcome the announcement. It is well overdue and it is what we have been saying for years and years. It comes straight out of the DA’s playbook.”

“We have been calling for a long time for new generation capacity, which features in the business plan, and to allow IPPs onto the grid to accelerate it and make it easier for them to do that by easing regulatory requirements and the likes. It will give Eskom the space it needs to do the maintenance that it must do if it is going to survive,” adds Mileham.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) says the country needs to move towards nuclear energy.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says, “I hope that, in the long term, South Africans will be able to say we are going to invest in nuclear energy to make sure we don’t experience this nonsense of load shedding since 2013. We need to sit down, bring the scientists, let’s see what is going on in the world outside.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it does not believe that the new interventions will assist in alleviating the country’s energy crisis.

EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo says, “As the EFF, we do not think that there would be any reprieve from rolling blackouts. What Ramaphosa has uttered is a recommitment to the privatisation of energy generation, distribution and transmission in South Africa. He is calling for entities that are going to control the transmission generation and distribution of electricity – basically setting up private plans to hike electricity prices, making it unaffordable for the poor. So, there is no interest in exploring genuine alternatives to energy in SA.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says despite welcoming new ideas to help solve the country’s power crisis, President Ramaphosa needs to provide clarity on the funding of the energy solutions.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says, “We welcome the fact that the President is able to give an idea of the government’s thinking, but at this point in time all he has given is a statement of intent which needs to be tested so far as the budget is concerned. All these things require money and what we have always maintained is not to throw financial solutions at non-financial problems. So those in parliament must provide the clarity in so far as the outlook is concerned.”

Unpacking President Ramaphosa’s plans to fix the energy crisis:

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) says it is not convinced that a proper plan was announced to assist Eskom’s current generation capacity.

ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula says, “The President is clearly on a mission to privatise as many entities as possible. However, you don’t see the president having any thorough plans to improve the capacity of Eskom to meet the demands. The only focus that he has is on ensuring that his IPP friends are able to enter into the market.”

The Congress of the People (COPE) says President Ramaphosa needs to provide clarity on the funding of new energy solutions.

COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem says, “Our biggest concern is that the president is announcing very big plans to solve these problems. But Eskom is in a debt of R400 billion. I don’t understand where this money will come from. The president is saying that we are going into import power from neighbouring countries and so on.”

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) has raised questions on the timeline of energy solutions, saying there needs to be more Independent Power Producers entering the market.

FF-Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says, “The question is why did it take so long? Are we going to wait another three years before we get what the president said? The only solution is for producers to enter the market. We must privatise and allow people to deliver electricity to the network. Yes, of course, renewable energy is the solution for the future.”

Political parties react to President Ramaphosa’s address on measures to fix Eskom: