Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has previously welcomed the ruling in the application to interdict the signing of the power purchase agreements for the 27 independent power producers projects. Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe signed the first of a series of renewable energy contracts worth 55.92 billion rand ($4.72 billion) on Wednesday, in the first major investment deal under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The signing went ahead after a South African court dismissed a last-minute legal challenge by a metalworkers’ union and group which has lobbied for ousted president Jacob Zuma in the past.

The department of energy said the 27 projects, located in mainly rural parts of South Africa, would amount to R55.92 billion in new direct investment in the energy sector and create much needed jobs.

The agreements will be signed after the high court threw out a bid by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA to block the deal, which they said would lead to at least 30 000 job losses in Mpumalanga province, home to five Eskom coal fired power stations.

"The department reached this milestone following a long period of uncertainty, but with this important milestone government re-confirms its commitment not only to renewable energy, but also to a solid partnership with the private sector as it pursues energy’s core position in the South African economy," the energy department said.


- REUTERS / BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE