Ramaphosa promises to fix energy crisis, announces changes in local government appointments

President Cyril Ramaphosa during the tabling of the presidency budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa during the tabling of the presidency budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 31, 2023


Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a number of measures to reduce load shedding and add more megawatts to the grid by the end of the year.

Ramaphosa said the immediate priority of government was to achieve energy security.

He denied that there could be a total blackout in the country as the grid was on the verge of collapse.

He said Eskom has systems in place to prevent the blackout.

Ramaphosa, who was delivering his budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday, said they will procure about 10 000MW of new generation capacity after more than 100 projects were implemented.

They will also get 2 800MW from Bid Window 5 and 6.

“In the coming months, we will initiate the procurement of more than 10 000 MW of additional generation capacity from wind, solar, gas and battery storage, which will further contribute to closing the shortfall in energy supply,” said Ramaphosa.

He said Eskom’s power stations were in a poor state.

But they were all doing all they can to ensure they continue to operate.

The government was hoping it would get another 4 500MW once six units at Medupi, Kusile and Koeberg are back online by the end of the year following repairs.

The president also denied that the grid was on the verge of collapse and the country could face a blackout.

“We must reiterate that the risk of a national blackout remains extremely low. There are many safeguards in place to prevent such an incident from occurring. Load shedding allows Eskom to keep the system in balance at all times,” said Ramaphosa.

The government will continue with plans to delay the decommissioning of some of the power stations to be able to meet the energy demand.

This point was reiterated by Deputy President Paul Mashatile in the Eastern Cape at the weekend.

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has also emphasised that South Africa was not going to decommission its power stations now until they have resolved the energy crisis.

Ramaphosa also announced that they would allow third parties to enter the rail network.

“Transnet is working to establish a separate Infrastructure Manager within Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), which will enable third party access to the core rail network,” he said.

The government will continue to crackdown on corruption in the public sector.

Ramaphosa said they will complete the lifestyle audits of senior officials by next year.

Ramaphosa also announced changes in the appointment of senior officials from local government.

He said the appointment of municipal managers and chief financial officers could be handled at national level to eliminate the problem of undue political influence.

“We need to strengthen local government by separating the administration from undue political influence. For example, the appointment process of officials such as the municipal manager and chief financial officer could involve competence verification by national departments like Cooperative Governance and National Treasury. This would help to ensure people with the right skills and experience are appointed,” said Ramaphosa.

In sweeping changes in the handling of disciplinary cases Ramaphosa said all these cases will now be handled by one entity. They will no longer be done at each sphere of government.

The Public Service Commission would now have powers over local government.

“As part of our response to the recommendations of the State Capture Commission, we have prioritised the establishment of a single register for disciplinary cases and processes across all spheres of government. The Cabinet recently approved for public comment a bill that would expand the powers of the Public Service Commission, including giving the Commission authority over local government. This will go a long way to improving the professionalism and accountability of all spheres of the administration,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa also said they would recruit 10 000 officers for the next three years and this will bring the number to 30 000.

He said out of the 30 000 officers in the SAPS 3 000 of them would be deployed in the detective services.

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