Ongoing load shedding has had a devastating impact on households, livelihoods, businesses and the economy as a whole and last week, SARS Commissioner, Mr Edward Kieswetter, said that the energy crisis may have cost the country R150 billion, and this will probably be more fully ventilated in next week’s medium term budget policy statement.
Honourable Minister, we as the the ACDP, participated in the Eskom Parliamentary Inquiry, so we know the root cause, and a lot of that was admitted in the Zondo Commission where the ANC took responsibility for a lot of that state capture and corruption.
However, we appreciate your update. We appreciate the fact that you are confidence that South Africa’s turned the corner and that we are beginning to see sustained, improved performance over an extended period of time. And yes, this last while we have seen an improvement and we are grateful for that. This is good news. The challenge is, of course, how long can it last? There is a saying that ‘benoude katte maak, benoude spronge,” which means when there is a crisis then one jumps around trying to resolve that crisis with elections looming.
When you also look at the statement and the improved performance, one has to look at what Eskom’s Group Executive for transmission, Mr Scheepers, has said when he sketches the different scenarios of the 14,500 megawatts, 16,000 megawatts and 17,500 megawatts (and that’s the three planned scenarios with the different load shedding that one would then apply to each of those scenarios). The most optimistic scenario would be loadshedding four at 14,500 megawatts.
Now, the problem with both Eskom and the Minister’s positive scenario is that the unplanned losses that is, as the word suggests, unplanned and unforeseeable, particularly as we’ve got an ageing and unpredictable fleet of power stations.
However, when you look at the facts, Minister, this week — yes, the breakdowns were at 13,500 megawatts, which is promising because this best scenario was 14,500 and planned maintenance was at 4,700 megawatts of generation capacity which means that maintenance is continuing.
So, the ACDP welcomes the additional units from Kusile and Medupi but we are mindful of the health issues as well, Minister. So, from our perspective, we trust that you do succeed and that we have lasting energy because that is for the common interests of all South Africans.
May I just conclude by saying that the ACDP continues to pray for the ‘peace of Jerusalem’ in the knowledge that the Lord, who watches over Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps. And that is the modern state of Israel.
I thank you.”