RATE IT | How the DA believes we can beat the power crisis
While Eskom, the government and energy experts work to try to fix the energy crisis, the DA has called for several reforms to put an end to rolling blackouts.
The country has been battling high levels of load-shedding over the past few days, with the power utility announcing on Sunday it was ramping up power cuts. Stage 6 load-shedding was later reduced to stage 5.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called a cabinet meeting to discuss solutions to the crisis.
DA leader John Steenhuisen has been critical of government’s handling of the issue and this week said it had potential to “derail what is left of our economy and destabilise our society”.
He announced several proposals to put the lights back on, but do you think they will work?
SCRAP THE CRISIS COMMITTEE
Steenhuisen said government has been slow to implement plans in the Energy Response Plan announced by Ramaphosa in July.
“At the heart of this lethargy is the Crisis Committee appointed by the president to take over the implementation of his plan. They have made no progress at all and should be taken off the job right away.
“They cannot be replaced by another set of ANC politicians. We cannot repeat the same actions and hope for a different outcome. What we are proposing is that the president immediately dissolves the National Energy Crisis Committee and appoints in its place an outside industry expert to oversee the implementation of the Energy Response Plan.”
REMOVE MANTASHE AND GORDHAN FROM THE ENERGY RESPONSE PLAN
Steenhuisen said government’s Energy Response Plan “is dead in the water in the hands of the president’s Crisis Committee” and should not be given to mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to implement.
“Not only these two ministers and the Crisis Committee. The president himself must hand over the plan to someone who can and will see to it that progress is made.”
MANTASHE MUST GET THE BOOT
Steenhuisen said Mantashe should be fired for the crisis that has escalated while he has been minister.
“It is incomprehensible that he has managed to remain in this crucial position despite his multiple failures.
“He is responsible for the dysfunctional regulatory framework that has prevented our energy sector’s recovery. He has repeatedly blocked renewable energy projects. He has allowed the Risk Mitigation Power Producer Procurement Programme to stall in the middle of the crisis, and he cannot see beyond coal. He must go, and he must go now.”
CALL A RING-FENCED STATE OF DISASTER
The DA repeated its calls for a “ring-fenced state of disaster around Eskom and our electricity supply”.
“This will allow for the circumvention of the current stifling web of legislation that prevents the acquisition of additional power from independent power producers (IPPs)”.
FORM AN AD-HOC COMMITTEE AND MITIGATION PLAN
“Parliament cannot be a spectator at a time like this. We need to give it back its teeth and allow it to play the oversight role envisaged by the authors of our constitution. For too many years this ANC government and its presidents were allowed to declaw parliament and turn it into a rubber stamp of ANC policies and programmes. That has to end now.
“What is also required is a comprehensive and publicly available mitigation plan in the event of ongoing high stage load-shedding,” suggested Steenhuisen.
LEARN FROM THE WESTERN CAPE
Steenhuisen said the Western Cape government had introduced a detailed worst case load-shedding scenario plan, and encouraged Ramaphosa to study it.
“There are many aspects of it that can be rolled out across the country. South Africans need to know someone has thought of and planned for every eventuality.”
The party has also proposed the waiving of preferential procurement requirements, the waiving of local content requirements and the removal of onerous BEE requirements.
It suggested incentivising rooftop solar, enabling municipalities to procure their own power, reviewing the country’s Integrated Resource Plan, expediting outstanding IPP bid windows and encouraging private/public partnerships in infrastructure investment.
“None of these things are radical or contentious. They’re just good old common sense, but they do require a government that can see past its own desire to cling to power and control,” said Steenhuisen.
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