Cyril Ramaphosa: 'We are implementing energy reforms'
President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged that South Africa is undergoing a number of reforms to ensure it remains an investment-friendly destination.
He said that while the government is implementing reforms at state-owned enterprises, it is also working on measures to ensure a stable supply of electricity.
Addressing a room full of German and South African business people in Pretoria on Thursday, alongside German chancellor Angela Merkel, Ramaphosa said the country remained committed to a path of economic reform.
“We are taking clear and decisive measures to ensure policy certainty and reduce the cost of doing business. We are committed to regulatory efficiency, legislative reform, fiscal consolidation and pursuing prudent macroeconomic policies,” Ramaphosa said.
Merkel is on an official visit to SA where she had high level talks aimed at furthering the relationship between the two countries.
We are taking steps that will fundamentally transform our energy landscapePresident Cyril Ramaphosa
In their talks, Ramaphosa expressed a need for German investment in SA to help boost the ailing economy.
The president conceded that unemployment was a huge crisis and hoped foreign direct investment would alleviate the situation. He told business leaders that the government was working on improving the business environment and the ease of doing business in the country.
“We are implementing governance and operational reforms to strengthen our state-owned companies and ensure they are financially sustainable. We are focused in particular on measures to ensure the stable supply of electricity, including the accelerated introduction of new generating capacity by independent producers,” he said.
Eskom implemented stage 2 load-shedding on Thursday that saw power outages countrywide.
“We are working with the leadership and management of our power utility, Eskom, to stabilise its finances, improve its operational performance and achieve a sustainable business model,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “As we work to address the immediate challenge of power shortages, we are taking steps that will fundamentally transform our energy landscape into the future."
Earlier, Merkel said Germany was willing to help fight SA’s energy crisis, particularly concerning renewable energy and building gas power plants. “We would like to support you to extend and expand renewables. We also discussed using renewables in a sustainable way ... and the replacement of old power plants,” Merkel said after the high-level talks.
She said the German delegation was gratified that SA wanted to be “ambitious on the expansion of renewables”.
Ramaphosa said SA had a lot to learn from Germany on the transition from coal-powered energy.
“We are still 89% reliant on coal. We started our journey and renewables ... will be playing a key role," the president said.