Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Sihle Zikalala’s department has approved a number of applications to allow Eskom to expand the grid.
Eskom is trying to meet the demand for energy projects as more renewable projects are ready to be connected to the grid.
Zikalala met with Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa recently where they discussed plans to get parcels of land to be released to allow for the expansion of the grid.
Ramokgopa had said a few months ago that one of the priorities was the expansion of the grid to deal with load shedding.
He had said it would be of no use to approve renewable energy projects when there was no space available.
Zikalala said they are now trying to release as many land parcels as possible for the expansion of the transmission lines.
“As a custodian of state properties, we have heightened the need to urgently acquire property for the expansion of the Eskom transmission infrastructure. We are also expediting the expropriation applications for Eskom servitudes. We wish to report that we have processed a request by Eskom for servitudes on the state land in various properties.
“We have received 45 requests from Eskom and 25 of them have been approved by the Minister of Public Works, an equivalent of 143.7485 hectares. A further six requests are being processed (currently at the stage of valuation and feasibility).
“The department is also dealing with requests for servitude for portions of land from the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) on state land. Two IPPs have made applications, with one requesting approximately 19 hectares and another with an extent of 13 hectares. We are processing these requests and we will subject them to a conveyancing process by the department,” said Zikalala.
He said it was their responsibility to ensure they work with all departments in this matter.
Eskom has been battling load shedding for many years.
Ramokgopa said they would need billions of rands to expand the transmission network.
However, government cannot do it alone and they will invite the private sector to take part.
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe also reiterated this point at the weekend that the expansion of the grid was crucial in dealing with electricity challenges in the country.