Thuli Madonsela: Dear minister of electricity, give us an emergency solution

Minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is in the hot seat as South Africans tire of stage 6 load-shedding.
Minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is in the hot seat as South Africans tire of stage 6 load-shedding.
Image: Masi Losi

Minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa’s apparent plan to end load-shedding by December cannot come soon enough for former public protector Thuli Madonsela, who has pleaded for an emergency solution.  

Madonsela recently took to social media to share her frustration with the poor power supply after suffering an outage followed by stage 6 load-shedding.  

“Dear minister of electricity: Just got electricity back then load-shedding within 30 minutes. Please give us an emergency solution.

“The policy on 'buy and claim from SARS' is social justice dissonant in that it ignores that poor and lower economic echelon people do not have the required capital outlay and also will get very little back as the stipulated percentage rebate is minuscule in rand.

“Also to limit risk, you need to diversify solutions or pathways. In this case, mini and micro grids should contain the risks even for the future. When one power station is disrupted, the whole nation should not be affected. Please minister, act as if the emergency is still on.”

She has previously suggested Eskom consider buying solar panels and inverters and retailing them to the country.

Pressure has been mounting for Ramakgopa to provide solutions with stage 6 load-shedding implemented for two weeks and expected to worsen in the winter months.

“Has Eskom considered entering the business of wholesale buying of solar panels and inverters and retailing these to the nation, having trained a squad of unemployed young persons to do installations. Could this not help end stage 6 load-shedding or any stage with deliberate speed?

“At the moment people are able to get expensive installations from reputable companies to evade stage 6 load-shedding and other stages. The unverified traders in places like Chinatowns are a grave risk. Eskom diversifying its offerings would also boost energy security equity.  

“Furthermore, if done by Eskom, having procured solar panels and inverters in bulk directly from manufacturers, the cost would not average R150,000 per family. It would be far less,” said Madonsela.  

Ramokgopa recently tabled a plan to end load-shedding by December.  

“Sputla [Ramokgopa] is trying to make sure that by September we reduce load-shedding to maximum stage 3. That’s why he’s pushing for all these things. By December he thinks it’s possible to eradicate load-shedding,” an insider said.

The report on his plan comes a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa promised businesses at the fifth South Africa Investment Conference that government was working on ending load-shedding in the short-term. 

“As we work to close the electricity supply shortfall and end load-shedding in the short term, we are laying the foundation for a fundamental reform of the energy sector in the longer term.   

“Our immediate focus is on improving the performance of our existing coal-fired power stations as they continue to provide the baseload of our energy,” Ramaphosa said.


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