Energy crisis threatens SA but president vows progress
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AS THE COUNTRY’S energy crisis continued to threaten growth, President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday vowed that the government was making progress in resolving the challenges.
Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter that the government would build on recent green shoots to resolve challenges that have long hindered economic growth.
He said these included a strengthening currency, a record trade surplus, and growth in mining, financial services and manufacturing sectors, among others.
“We are making progress in resolving many of our challenges, from corruption to energy shortages to the obstacles that discourage investment. The pace of reform is picking up,” he said. “We do not take the patience and resilience of the South African people for granted. We acknowledge our shortcomings as a government and are working to remedy them.”
Ramaphosa said he would deliver this message at the G7 Heads of States Summit in the UK later this week where South Africa, alongside South Korea, Australia and India, was invited as a guest country. The summit will discuss the global recovery from the Covid-19, promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade, and tackling climate change.
Ramaphosa said gatherings such as the G7 Summit were an opportunity to promote the country as a destination in which to invest and do business, as a partner for development.
He said there was progress towards greater policy and regulatory certainty in important economic sectors such as energy and telecommunications.
Power utility Eskom yesterday resumed implementing power cuts with stage 1 loadshedding due to further breakdowns and delays in returning generating units.
“The likelihood of loadshedding is high for the rest of the week as the power system remains constrained and vulnerable,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Matshantsha said.
“These capacity constraints will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Loadshedding has had a crippling effect on economic activity in the first quarter of the year, and it continues to cloud investor sentiment.
Business Leadership SA chief executive Busi Mavuso urged for more urgency in the country’s energy security plan as the economy reels from more devastating power cuts.
Mavuso said interventions in the energy plan must include an increase of the licensing threshold for own generation from 1MW to 50MW, and not the 10MW contained in the draft amendment bill.