Prioritising energy welcomed

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s move to add a Minister of Electricity in the Presidency, saying that this will allow government to work more rapidly to address the energy deficit in the country.

The President announced the move during his State of the Nation Address, held at Cape Town City Hall, on Thursday evening.

“He went to lengths to the extent that he even improved the institutional arrangement to deal with electricity by making sure that there’s a special focus in dealing with the crisis so that ... technical people who are dealing with this matter do not report everywhere politically.

“There’s a political person who has powers to take decisions and that person reports to the President. In other words, this process is protected both in terms of decision making and also focus and specialisation,” Minister Gungubele told SAnews. 

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, said President Ramaphosa’s address was an “open and frank analysis of the problems that are confronting South Africa".

“What I found helpful was while problems were set out, we also got a sense of some of the interventions that are bearing success for our country ... some of the youth employment initiatives and that the foreign direct investment targets are being met. These facts that we don’t hear much about in the public domain.

“All of us talk about the crisis; of the inadequacy of electricity supply and the constant outages. This is a worry, which it should be to our nation and I hope that the strategies that the President indicated will be pursued by government and begin to give us a reduction in the outages that have been a feature of our lives for so many years,” Pandor said.

The Minister added that the mix of energy resources announced by the President will bring fresh opportunities.

“I am happy about the acknowledgement that we want a mix of energy resources. It is very important; that mix of  opportunities … on research and innovation and new business enterprises.

“So I hope South Africans are going to pick up the issues and opportunities and that we will become more attuned to renewable energy resoures and other aspects that are innovative and exciting and become part of the energy solution,” she said.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, concurred with the President’s announcement that energy will be at the forefront of government’s plan of action for the year.

“Many of the programmes of government will not have an impact if we can’t get to the point where we reduce load shedding and eventually ensure that we have a sufficient energy supply to meet the needs of South Africans and the economy,” he said. –