Miners call for urgent action on power supply, economic crisis ahead of Business Economic Indaba
JOHANNESBURG – Ahead of Tuesday’s Business Economic Indaba (BEI), the South African mining industry has called on the government to implement urgent steps to address the country’s economic crisis, especially the insecurity of power supply by Eskom.
The mining industry was heavily impacted last month when Eskom implemented an unprecedented stage 6 load shedding, forcing companies to suspend underground operations and halt production.
Eskom has also resumed with power cuts this year, earlier than anticipated, as it continues to suffer unplanned breakdowns at its ageing coal-fired power stations.
The power crisis has prompted the mining industry to lobby the government to urgently facilitate the bringing on the stream of and licensing of new private-sector power options for embedded generation and private generation for self-use, but which is fed through the national grid.
The Minerals Council, in a statement late Monday, said it firmly believes that the electricity supply crisis was the biggest single risk to the South African economy.
Minerals Council chief executive Roger Baxter said investor and business confidence was declining to levels not seen for many decades.
“While the situation the country faces today is a consequence of the decade of mismanagement and corruption of a previous government, today’s political leadership needs to act with great urgency to turn the economy and our society around,” Baxter said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday deliver the opening address at the Business Unity South Africa’s (BUSA’s) second annual Business Economic Indaba in Johannesburg. ‘
Ramaphosa is also scheduled to deliver the eulogy at the official funeral of the late business magnate, Dr Richard Maponya, in Soweto.
BUSA has outlined five key focus areas which will be workshopped for the bulk of the day, including energy security, enabling a capable state, critical sectors for economic growth, the structure of the economy, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sipho Pityana, BUSA president, said the Indaba needs to map out what can be done to address the serious economic crisis the country finds itself in.”
“We believe business has a crucial role to play in ensuring South Africa’s economic and social revival, and that we need an urgent and focused discussion with the government to bring that about,” Pityana said.
“South Africa is facing an unprecedented economic crisis -- the longest economic downswing since 1945. We had an average economic growth rate of 1.5 percent over the last decade, compared to over 4 percent in other emerging economies.”
Prominent business leaders will be in attendance at Indaba, including those from BUSA affiliated business associations, chairpersons and CEOs of blue-chip corporates, BUSA’s local and international partners and associates.