NEWS & ANALYSIS

Eskom plunges country into stage 4 darkness – Kevin Mileham

DA MP says ANC govt would much rather continue to drag the nation down by holding onto outdated ideas

While the ANC and EFF pander outdated ideologies, Eskom plunges the country into stage 4 darkness

2 September 2020

On the same day Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy rejected the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) sound and practical solutions to address the electricity crisis, presented in our Independent Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) Bill, Eskom has leapt to stage 4 rolling blackouts.

These developments reflect the continued inability of Eskom to meet the needs of South Africa’s energy supply. But the ANC government would much rather continue to drag the nation down by holding onto outdated ideas instead of doing the right thing and breaking Eskom's deadly monopolistic grip on South Africa’s energy supply.

The DA’s IEMO Bill that the ANC and EFF cohort opposed was part of a well thought out and well-researched attempt by the DA to create an independent public-private partnership that would manage grid operations, electricity planning, source electricity from a variety of generation plants and sell it to municipal and industrial customers. It was an attempt to create a level playing field between Eskom (as the country’s primary generator) and independent power producers (IPPs).

At a time when the country desperately needs economic growth, Eskom once again plunges us into darkness.

South Africa cannot afford to continue being beholden to Eskom if it has any hope of stimulating economic growth. It is untenable for South African businesses to emerge from the economically devastating effects of Covid-19 regulations only to be further crippled by an unstable electricity supply.

The IEMO Bill, colloquially known as the Cheaper Electricity Bill, would have opened up South Africa’s electricity supply market and gone a long way to make South Africa an attractive investment destination, through a stable power supply that throws off the shackles of economically crippling blackouts.

Sadly, South African political parties, particularly the ANC and EFF disregard ideas that are not born in their own ranks, no matter how good these are, hence their rejection of the DA’s IEMO Bill.

The DA will continue to push for a more open, affordable and efficient electricity sector, and will be taking all possible measures to ensure that this Bill and the proposed independent grid operator see the light of day.

Issued by Kevin Mileham, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, 2 September 2020