Johannesburg - ‘’It is now time for the government to stop underplaying the situation at Eskom and instead start taking action by no longer being an obstacle to solving the electricity crisis but rather an enabler,’’ says Rudolph Janse van Rensburg, portfolio analyst at Everest Wealth.
This comes amid the ongoing phase six load shedding and talk of even higher phases and a difficult winter ahead.
Van Rensburg said the government blames corruption, state capture, and now also the private sector for load shedding and the electricity crisis. In the meantime, the government appeases all role players with various promises and initiatives, but nothing comes of this.
‘’In last week's court ruling on load shedding, it was not only confirmed that it violates several constitutional human rights but also that there is uncertainty regarding the content and time-lines of the government's energy plan.’’
‘’The government encourages households and businesses to launch power projects and calls on the private sector and investors to intervene, but then makes it extremely difficult with its policies, legislation, regulations, and red tape.’’
‘’It is time for the government to really enable other actors to step in by providing clarity, removing barriers, and implementing its ideas and plans, and those who can become as independent from Eskom as possible while the private sector does intervene with new power projects to encourage private power generation.’’
Van Rensburg added that, meanwhile, conflicting statements and promises about when load shedding might come to an end and the extension of coal-fired power stations' lifetimes, as well as reports of infighting between ministers and questions about the electricity minister's powers, lead to more political uncertainty that deters investors.
‘’If the government doesn't get its own house in order and starts speaking with one voice, it will continue to scare away investors.’’
‘’This requires robust policy and a transparent legislative framework that will instil confidence among investors and give the private sector the opportunity to do even more in order to solve the electricity crisis.’’
‘’Due to increased costs, which not only cause unprecedented inconvenience but have a huge impact on the economy, business profits are now burdened by increased costs and have hampered job creation, economic growth, and investment.’’
‘’The government must show that something is actually being done about problems such as corruption, poor maintenance and repairs, and the protection of infrastructure. There must be tangible outcomes from the energy plan as well as evidence of progress being made,’’ said Van Rensburg.