There won't be loadshedding by next year's elections – Mantashe

30 June 2023 - 13:10
By Mpho Sibanyoni
Gwede Mantashe said opposition parties who had planned to capitalise on loadshedding when campaigning for next year’s national general elections were going to be disappointed
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO Gwede Mantashe said opposition parties who had planned to capitalise on loadshedding when campaigning for next year’s national general elections were going to be disappointed

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe has told a gathering of black business leaders that he was confident that loadshedding will soon be a thing of the past.

Mantashe was speaking on Friday morning at the Black Business Council’s annual Black Business Summit taking place in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.

Mantashe also praised the electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, saying the country was experiencing lower stages of loadshedding because Ramokgopa has been focusing on the energy availability factor from each of SA's power stations.

Mantashe, who is also chairman of the governing ANC, said opposition parties who had planned to capitalise on loadshedding when campaigning for next year’s national general elections were going to be disappointed.

“Many have banked on having loadshedding going into the elections and [to] use that to [campaign against the ANC], no [it is not going to happen]. By the time of the elections there won’t be loadshedding. We would’ve resolved that.”

“[Ramokgopa] is also talking about emergency procurement and buying electricity from neighbouring countries. That is the correct approach to dealing with loadshedding. If we persist with that, we’d overcome loadshedding,” he said.

Mantashe said there was nothing wrong to call Ramokgopa a project manager, a label that was given to Ramokgopa by critics, after he spent months as an electricity minister but did not have powers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in May signed a proclamation granting Ramokgopa the powers to direct the procurement  of new generation capacity and ensure security of supply.

“When the president appoints the minister of electricity, Dr Ramokgopa… [loadshedding] is a job that’s been given to him, it’s not my job. And that loadshedding is in Eskom. And therefore it is given to a person to focus on it and they call [it] project management.

“No, project management is not reductionist… it’s a very important and fundamental approach to running an entity. Because there, you have a beginning and an end. You have critical parts and milestones you must achieve. And therefore it is a very important project management to manage loadshedding out. [Ramokgopa] is doing well. He is paying attention to the energy availability factor power station by power station,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe said Eskom had collapsed because coal generation power stations were allowed to perform sub-optimally.

“If you pay attention to individual power stations, you are making them to operate optimally. [Ramokgopa] is doing the right things. He is very serious about emergency procurement.”

Mantashe said that the just energy transition – a term used to describe the shifting away from fossil fuel to green sources of energy – was a concept foreign to SA.

He then encouraged black business leaders to invest in coal mines, describing coal as business.

He, however, warned about the environmental risks associated with coal mining and consumption, saying there was a need to move away from high carbon to low carbon emissions.

"We cannot only be about decarbonisation. We must deal with energy poverty. It is something that the Black Business Council must deal with, otherwise we are going to be in trouble. We must never allow ourselves to be a conduit of somebody else's ideas."

He added that environment and development must co-exist.

"Developers must develop responsibily. Environmentalists must tolerate development."