Cape Town - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan conceded on Wednesday that more megawatts could have been added to the electricity grid if there had been a greater sense of urgency to quell the energy crisis.
Delivering his Budget speech in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Gordhan said they were aware that there was a shortage of megawatts.
Gordhan said the current transmission network was expensive and did not cover important parts of the country like the Northern Cape.
“There are measures to upgrade the transmission grid while at the same time looking at investment required in expanding the transmission grid.”
He stated that efforts had been made in the past 18 months to operationalise the national transmission company.
“A fair amount of work has been done in researching the impact of climate change and shift of just transition,” he added.
Gordhan also said the municipal debt to Eskom was about R58 billion.
“The national Treasury, including ourselves and others, are looking at a support package to ensure that municipalities can be assisted. That will fail unless the culture of non-payment is dealt with in South Africa.”
According to Gordhan, Eskom distribution was also offering a lot of assistance to municipalities.
“There are active partnerships programmes that are being implemented.
It means municipalities are offered an opportunity to allow Eskom to upgrade reticulation network and management of electricity to collect revenue and give a portion to municipalities what they are entitled to.”
The minister told the delegates to the NCOP that plans were afoot to bring SAA’s strategic equity partner in the coming few months. Gordhan said SAA currently had 12 destinations – 10 regional and two domestic.
He also said the airline currently had 12 aircraft and these would systematically grow.
“The key initiative that will be concluded in the next few months is to bring on the strategic equity partner once the Competition Commission and the Tribunal processes have been concluded.
“We envisage if all things go well, there will be one continental route, 16 regional routes and a number of local routes.
“That will enable all of you to travel to South America and other parts of the world once SAA gets going because there is a shortage of seats at the moment,” Gordhan told the delegates to NCOP when he referred to the sale of 51% of SAA to Takatso Consortium.
Gordhan also said there was a clear plan for SOEs in South Africa.
“It is going to require political will and require determination,” he said. The minister said state-owned enterprises (SOEs) played a vital role in creating and enhancing the economic and social well-being of all South Africans.
“This reality underpins our work to revitalise our SOEs and reclaim them from criminals and the beneficiaries of State Capture, whose treasonous acts mean that Eskom cannot deliver safe and reliable electricity supply.”
According to Gordhan, the reform of SOEs was an absolute imperative.
“The National Development Plan (NDP 2030) suggests that the significant SOEs need a clear public-interest mandate and straightforward governance structures, enabling them to balance and reconcile their economic and social objectives.”
Gordhan said a shareholder bill had been prepared and would shortly be presented to the Cabinet.