The Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased to note that the ANC is taking the first step in adopting our solutions to solving the energy crisis. For years, we have been calling for independent power producers (IPPs) to sell power directly to municipalities and reports from the ANC lekgotla indicate that the ruling party is considering such a move.
An element in the drive for energy security has been the diversification of energy sources. The DA-led City of Cape Town has gone to court to secure the right to buy power directly IPPs. Just this past week the City announced that it is seeking permission for an expedited hearing in their case against the energy minister and the national energy regulator.
The ANC’s endorsement of municipalities’ right to procure their own energy, expand the independent power producer programme and free up regulations around self-generation by business is welcome as is the president’s statement that “we should avoid political interference in operational matters of our SOEs”.
The DA has been calling for these measures for many years. Since 2015 we have done the following:
- 2015: The DA-led City of Cape Town asks then-Minister Tina Joematt-Peterson for the right to procure 150MW of solar energy and 280 MW of wind energy from independent power producers (IPPs)
- August 2017: the DA-led City of Cape Town serves the Department of Energy and NERSA with court papers to demand the right to purchase power from independent power producers
- October 2019: DA’s Cheaper Electricity Bill is tabled in Parliament
- December 2019: DA presents its Cheaper Electricity Bill to the portfolio committee of Public Enterprises in Parliament
- December 2019: the DA-led City of Cape Town asks for an expedited court date in its legal battle to win the right to procure power from IPPs
In addition to the ANC’s decision, the following still needs to be done:
- Full transparency and accountability is required.
- Cadre deployment must end.
- Contractual arrangements require scrutiny.
- Maintenance needs improvement and turnkey construction arrangements need to be implemented.
- Bloated labour force must be addressed.
- The baseload needs to be managed effectively and the role of coal quantified and clarified.
- A diversified mix of energy needs to be explored and brought online over time.
Let’s hope this DA-inspired exhibition of common sense continues to prevail. We repeat our readiness to sit around a table and assist in addressing these pressing issues in a party-agnostic manner – the scale of the crisis in Eskom demands it.