These were among the bold solutions to stop South Africa’s energy crisis and end load shedding, put forward by Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at the party’s election manifesto launch at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Addressing a sea of red at the 50 000 capacity stadium, Malema outlined a multi-faceted approach to reform the energy sector that saw a record number of load shedding days in 2023.
Malema said that an EFF government “will ensure the security of electricity supply for at least the next 20 years, emulating successful models like that of China, to foster national sovereignty and sustainable economic growth”.
Key highlights include the repair and enhancement of the existing power generation fleet, adopting clean coal technologies, and reducing electricity demand through economically sustainable strategies.
Significantly, the manifesto proposes ending preferential electricity tariffs for select corporations, a move aimed at fostering a more equitable energy distribution.
A cornerstone of the EFF's plan is the substantial investment in renewable energy and the expansion of Eskom’s generation capacity.
This includes establishing a state-owned mining company to manage coal mines and ensure a quality coal supply at affordable prices
“The EFF government will enhance technical capacity by collaborating with China and other friendly nations to repair and restore coal power stations,” Malema said.
Additionally, the manifesto calls for the end of privatisation in Eskom, consolidating generation, transmission, and distribution under one entity to stabilise supply and pursue a diverse mix of energy sources.
Notably, the EFF government pledges to support the private sector's controlled participation in electricity generation, with a transparent procurement process that facilitates ownership transfer to the majority of black people.
The manifesto also addresses the affordability and accessibility of electricity, proposing subsidies for embedded electricity alternatives for public institutions and households.
The EFF plans to provide free electricity up to 200 kWh per month to poor households, ensuring universal access to power.
In an effort to promote sustainability and resilience, the party advocates for the development of off-grid and embedded generation solutions, alongside a municipal conditional grant to assist in implementing these technologies.
In terms of infrastructure and international cooperation, the EFF outlines plans to improve rail infrastructure around power plants, develop industrial capacity for off-grid solutions, and forge global partnerships, including with the Russian Federation, to establish a nuclear power plant in South Africa.
“The EFF government will engage with strategic partners to build a nuclear power plant in South Africa through a transparent procurement process. This facility is planned to produce between 3000 and 6000 megawatts of electricity, under a 20-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract. This initiative will not only augment South Africa's electricity generation capacity but also symbolise a significant step towards energy independence and sustainable development,” Malema said.
In addition, the EFF manifesto's scope to solving the electricity crisis extends to eradicating illegal electricity connections, launching an electricity safety campaign, and investing in the electrification of the African continent.