'De-regulate electricity to attract investment'

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Property developers say the government must concentrate on long-term solutions to power supply problems in South Africa or the ripple effect will start to surface.

The department of minerals and energy has opened public comment on the proposed regulation of electricity supply.

Syfin Property Developers chief executive, Roux Gerber, said the legislation, the draft electricity regulation bill, is a short-term solution to a compounding problem and needs to be clarified.

Gerber said Syfin which specialises in commercial and retail property, has been inconvenienced by the lack of electricity supply, and it had to re-plan some of its s projects.

He said the company had been forced to postpone indefinitely three projects estimated at R500million.

Gerber said: "Additional electricity back-up requirements from tenants are adding on to the already high building cost and can turn marginal feasibility into projects that are non-starters.

"The biggest loss for any developer is the loss in opportunity if things are delayed.

"We have to re-think the purpose of regulation, as we are headed in the opposite direction of other developing economies such as Mauritius, that are de-regulating in order to attract investment."

He added that if the country's power supply could not be assured new international tenants, who could have been growth factors for the development business, would stay away from South Africa and move their businesses to more reliable economies.