Black business pours cold water on Ramaphosa's electricity plan

Eskom board slammed, coal power stations pushed

President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: GCIS.

Organised black business and professionals have poured cold water on President Cyril Ramaphosa's plan that aims to put an end to load-shedding.

Ramaphosa on Monday evening announced a comprehensive plan that would see independent power producers playing a bigger role in renewable energy generation.

However, the Black Management Forum (BMF) and Black Business Council (BBC) do not believe the president's plan would yield successful results.

BBC chief executive Kganki Matabane raised concerns that Ramaphosa has failed to address challenges relating to Eskom leadership and governance. "We are against any attempt to hijack the current crisis to impose solutions which have no technical merit to resolve the current emergency," said Matabane in a media statement.

"We have, on numerous occasions, raised very sharply, the capability of the Eskom executives and the board to lead and manage such a critical national institution, particularly as it is facing an existential crisis currently.

"The members of the board do not have the requisite industry stature, qualifications, and experience to provide proper oversight on the management of Eskom and have been virtually absent as this crisis is unfolding," said Matabane.

He said the council does not believe more energy generated from wind and solar sources would end load-shedding.

"There is currently 6,000MW of renewable energy connected to the grid, but this does not assist Eskom in reducing load-shedding.

BMF president Andile Nomlala said: "Whilst we welcome the president’s direct intervention in the management of the crisis and providing a plan, we however differ on the usage of solar energy as the only viable option for future energy supply."

He cautioned that the usage of renewable energy should be done "without compromising the country's sovereignty and ... leave the country at the mercy of the independent power producers as displayed with the European economy after Russia cut supply of gas".

"The BMF strongly believes that Eskom needs to forge ahead with the building of three coal [power] stations to serve as the core of our energy supply. Coal is a strategic source for base-load energy to support industry. International precedents show that other emerging countries and even now developed EU countries are doubling down on coal," said Nomlala.

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