Elections 2024: SA’s energy crisis and political parties’ solutions

Rolling blackouts and an unstable power utility continues to pain South Africans. File Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Rolling blackouts and an unstable power utility continues to pain South Africans. File Picture: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 3, 2024


South Africa has been gripped by the neck as citizens continue to grapple with rolling blackouts.

However, this year holds significance as the nation celebrates 30 years of democracy. South Africans will also head to the polls on May 29 for national elections.

National elections have seen many political parties making promises to deliver services once in power. However, the ruling party, the ANC, has consistently pledged to end load shedding.

Load shedding was first implemented in 2007. By early December 2023, the country had endured a record-breaking 332 days of load shedding that year.

There seems to be little to no reprieve as citizens continue to be plunged into darkness, with the power utility explaining its loss of generating units across the grid.

As most political parties have launched their 2024 manifestos, this is what some of the political parties have planned should South Africans vote them into power.

Democratic Alliance (DA)

The DA wants to implement its Integrated Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) bill or the Cheaper Energy Bill.

– Put oversight mechanisms in place to prevent the looting of emergency relief funding if a state of disaster on Eskom is declared.

– Privatise electricity generation. This includes allowing citizens to generate their own power to keep the lights on.

– Change the law so businesses and individuals can sell the extra electricity they generate onto the grid for others to use.

– Offer a R75,000 tax rebate to cover the cost of installing solar systems in homes, to take pressure off the grid.

– Offer a zero-rate VAT on LED light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances.

– Ease the regulatory requirements for private generation, to bring small Independent Power Producers (IPPs) online quicker.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

The cornerstone of the EFF’s plan is to substantially invest in renewable energy and expand the power utility’s generation capacity.

This would include establishing a state-owned mining company to manage coal mines across the country and ensure a quality supply of coal is distributed at affordable prices.

During its manifesto, the EFF said it will ensure the security of electricity supply for the next two decades and emulate successful models like that of China to foster national sovereignty and sustainable economic growth.

The party also stated it wants to repair and enhance the existing power generation fleet, adopt clean coal technologies, and reduce electricity demands through economically sustainable strategies. It also proposed the ending of preferential electricity tariffs for select corporations.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)

The IFP stated once in governance, it will stabilise the electricity power grid and said Eskom must be managed through a public-private partnership.

– To subsidise the price of electricity for the poor and historically disadvantaged communities.

– Deregulate fuel.

– Cut unnecessary fuel levies.

– Maintain coal production.

– Favour the extension of the use of gas for domestic purposes.

– Promote wind turbines and solar power.

– Install solar panels in all the new government houses built.

– Ensure that nuclear energy remains part of the mix, in the hands of the State.

Freedom Front Plus (VF)

The party said should it find itself in power it knew how the energy crisis could be address in the short term:

– Invest in upgrading and maintaining the electricity transmission grid. This may involve cooperating with the private sector.

– Effectively secure electricity infrastructure to prevent sabotage and cable theft.

– Amend the relevant legislation to declare electricity theft (including illegal connections) a statutory offence and prosecute illegal electricity consumers.

– Encourage a transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, through tax incentives and a nil VAT rate on panels and other components.

– Finalise the unbundling of Eskom into separate entities responsible for electricity generation and transmission.

– Privatise Eskom over the medium to long term, and a competitive energy sector should be established.

– Central power supply through concentrated generation units and a nationwide grid should largely be replaced by local power supply and micro-grids.

– The large-scale transition to renewable energy should be prioritised.

– Surplus energy generated by private households and businesses should be bought at more competitive tariffs.

– The harvesting, storage, and transmission of renewable energy should be emphasised.


The GOOD party stated the twin crises of climate change and load shedding must be answered with the same solution - the rapid transition to renewable energy, in partnership with the private sector. It said green energy is the cheapest and most effective form of energy production going forward and that some coal-fired power may be inevitable in the short-to-medium term but if it should govern, GOOD will not extend the life of existing coal plants beyond their scheduled retirement age.


If voted into power, ActionSA has unveiled its nine-point plan to fix the energy crisis in South Africa.

– End cadre deployment at Eskom, ensure staff are highly skilled and appointed based on merit and competency and not political affiliation.

– Combat crime plaguing the energy sector by improving security measures to protect the energy grid against cable theft and infrastructure damage. Under its governance vandalism of public property will be classified as economic sabotage and offenders will be criminally prosecuted.

– Shield critical services such as hospitals, clinics, fire stations and police stations from rolling blackouts.

– Decentralising the energy market: decentralised microgrids are the future of energy, especially for rural communities. We will incentivise municipalities to decrease their reliance on Eskom by utilising microgrids powered by renewable energy sources.

– Establish a competitive energy market: ActionSA will open the market to independent power producers to generate electricity in a competitive energy market to increase the country’s electricity supply.

– Harness solar power: provide tax incentives for solar panel installation, and invest in supplying low-income houses with universal access to rooftop solar panels and solar-powered geysers.

– Transition to renewable energy: use more renewable energy sources in our energy system to promote environmental sustainability while safeguarding communities reliant on the coal mining industry for survival.

– Promote public participation: engage with communities affected by the renewable energy transition to ensure that the needs of the people and economy are always prioritised.

– Enhance skills development: Introduce specialised training programmes that focus on building the skills needed to maintain South Africa’s energy grid, now and in the future.

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