Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, says the Department of Public Enterprises is working closely with the Board of Eskom and management to ensure that it limits the daily duration of load shedding and the period for which this intervention will be required.
The Minister announced this on Thursday during a media briefing on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
“Cabinet acknowledges the disruptions and inconvenience of intermittent load shedding experienced by South Africans in recent days.”
Meanwhile, according to the Minister, National Treasury has been roped in to grant Eskom appropriate exemptions to acquire the spare parts needed for repairs and maintenance.
In addition, the State-owned power utility is also making progress in re-employing skilled personnel – including plant managers.
“This will help the power utility make headway at individual power stations and across various operations of the business,” Gungubele explained.
Over the medium term, Gungubele said, government was implementing several interventions to resolve the energy challenges.
“We are making every effort to bring new power generation capacity online in the shortest possible time,” he added.
According to the Minister, who spoke on behalf of the Cabinet, there are several interventions in place to salvage the situation.
These include lifting the threshold for companies to produce their electricity without a licence to 100 megawatts (MW) and the recent announcement of 11 successful bidders for the risk mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
Also, Energy and Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe recently announced the Bid Window Five of the renewable energy programme to procure 2 600 MW of new generation capacity from wind and solar photovoltaic projects.
“While Cabinet is aware that the current energy challenges are frustrating and counterproductive to economic growth, it is confident that the practical actions government is taking to restructure and strengthen our electricity system will eventually improve the country’s energy capacity.”
Shifting the focus to investment, he said the country continues to perform as an investment destination of choice, attracting some of the world’s top businesses to expand their operations in the country.
He highlighted the new R2.6 billion Toyota South Africa production plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, which will manufacture the first generation of commercial-scale hybrid electric vehicles locally.
“This is part of the auto industry masterplan commitments by the company to increase its levels of investment.”
In addition, the Swedish multinational food packaging and processing company, Tetra Pak, recently committed to pumping in R500 million to upgrade its production capacity in Durban.
“Aspen Pharmacare opened its new anaesthetic line producing Diprivan locally as part of the R3.2-billion investment in creating world-class sterile production facilities, and turning the site in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape into the most advanced pharmaceutical precinct on the African continent.”
According to the Minister, the anaesthetic used in a range of standard medical procedures and operations in South African hospitals was previously imported.
The product is also used to treat COVID-19 patients on ventilators in intensive-care wards.
Cabinet has also welcomed the recent investment by Isuzu Motors, which launched the production facility at Struandale in Gqeberha.
The Minister said Isuzu is investing R1.2 billion into its next-generation bakkie programme for the South African and Sub-Saharan Africa markets and will create 1 000 direct jobs and about 25 000 at hundreds of suppliers across the country.
“All these three investments will advance the localisation programme announced in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan launched by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020,” he said.
“They will add billions of rand of annual production to South Africa’s gross domestic product.”
Meanwhile, he told the media that two of the investments had been pledged at the previous South Africa Investment Conference and that companies have now commenced with production, creating a significant number of new jobs. – SAnews.gov.za