African National Congress (ANC) Eastern Cape provincial chairperson Oscar Mabuyane called for investments into his province, saying this will boost the local economy and integrate it with the economic hub of South Africa.
Mabuyane said the Eastern Cape has poor transmission lines because of lack of capacity.
The transmission lines are concentrated in Mpumalanga, North West and Free State.
Minister of Energy Gwede Mantashe said when they expand transmission lines they want to build them in the coastal provinces of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
Many renewable energy projects in these coastal provinces could not be connected to the grid because of lack of capacity.
Mabuyane was on Sunday making closing remarks at the ANC Provincial Executive Committee lekgotla in the Eastern Cape.
The lekgotla was on Saturday addressed by ANC National Executive Committee member Lindiwe Zulu.
Mabuyane said the investment is crucial for development in the province.
“We are this province with a huge potential. Recently, there was a report that the best performing ports in South Africa are in the Eastern Cape. When Transnet took a decision to unbundle the over-concentration of Transnet in Durban (it raised questions),” he said.
“We built a building here for over R200 million. We spent almost 10 years and the building was under-utilised because the decision could not be taken to relocate the headquarters of TNPA to here,” Mabuyane said.
“When that is done it causes problems. It’s not right. We are a province in South Africa. We deserve equal treatment, we want even distribution of resources for development. This province must be integrated to the economic hub of this country.”
The Eastern Cape has potential for development, but this requires decisive action.
In the recent past questions were raised about the relocation of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) headquarters from Durban to Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.
TNPA said at the time this was part of cost-saving measures as they were going to save millions of rands in lease agreements.
It also added their headquarters in Ngqura had been completed at a cost of R255 million.
Mabuyane said this was a long overdue decision by Transnet as it was going to fuel the economy of the Eastern Cape.
“I know that seven provinces are in a 500km radius to Johannesburg, whether it is Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape or the Free State. It’s only your Eastern Cape that is 1,000km away, that is why we have a problem of energy,” Mabuyane said.
“The energy must be pumped from Mpumalanga, when you get here you have got issues of transmission capacity,” he said.
“These are real issues comrades of the economy that we cannot turn a blind away on and we must stand up and be strong and firm when we communicate them in the public if we want to change the socio-economic outlook of this province.”
Mabuyane also said they need to improve the delivery of roads, water and sanitation.
However, they were concerned about the damage to public and critical infrastructure.
They need to crack down against any destruction of infrastructure.