South Africa: Discussions Underway On Moving Eskom to Energy Department

South Africa: Discussions Underway On Moving Eskom to Energy Department

Deputy President David Mabuza says talks are underway to determine if Eskom will be moved to fall under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for better alignment and oversight.

The Deputy President was responding to questions from provincial delegates in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

“To address the Honourable Member’s question on whether government has considered moving Eskom from the Department of Public Enterprises to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, discussions are currently underway as part of a broader government effort to improve the management of parastatals.

“The reorganisation, once finally decided, would better align companies such as Eskom to their mandate,” he said.

Tshitereke Matibe, the ANC’s provincial delegate from Limpopo, had asked the Deputy President whether government had considered moving Eskom from the Department of Public Enterprises to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

The Deputy President said the Presidential State-Owned Enterprises Council will advise government on the appropriate shareholder models and repositioning of State-owned companies as effective instruments of economic transformation and development.

“In this regard, we should await the finalisation of the Presidential State-Owned Enterprises Council’s work for further guidance.

“As government, we continue to engage with key stakeholders to address any implementation bottlenecks and challenges in our efforts to provide stable energy, which will stimulate sustainable economic growth.

“Private sector experts are also invited to share expertise and experience across a number of key performance areas that the Eskom Political Task Team is seized with.”

No additional panel of experts will help fix Eskom challenges

The Deputy President said the challenge at Eskom has not been with the quality of advice or plans, but rather the resources, services and funding required in implementing interventions on power generation.

“It is, therefore, our view that an additional panel of experts shall not improve the situation, and we remain open to specific ideas that can contribute to further improvements.

“Equally, the Board of Eskom has been urged to review existing weaknesses that continue to affect performance of the utility and ensure that we resolve operational challenges.

“The management of the utility is also doing its best to focus on intensive maintenance and management of the aging power generation fleet to avoid breakages that lead to collapse in generation and ultimately power outages.”

Mabuza said government is cognisant of the impact and inconvenience of inadequate electricity supply on people’s daily lives and its devastation to the country’s economic growth.

“Collectively, this undermines development and delivery of critical services on a predictable basis across society.

“Honourable Members should rest assured that measures are being undertaken to ensure that the negative impact of load shedding is minimised in order to avoid the total collapse of energy-intensive economic sectors such as mining and manufacturing.”

The Deputy President said within the framework of the Integrated Resource Plan, alternative energy generation measures are also being explored and implemented to augment electricity supply and improve the stability of the grid upon their completion.

“The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy recently announced the preferred bidders for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme Bid Window 5.

“The 25 projects in this latest round of Independent Power Producer procurement will eventually add the much needed 2 583 megawatts capacity of renewable energy to South Africa’s grid.”