Clarity wanted on Karen Breytenbach’s sudden departure – Kevin Mileham

DA MP removal of Head of SA’s IPP office comes as a great shock

DA to seek clarity on Karen Breytenbach’s sudden departure as Head of SA’s IPP office

23 July 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe , to request clarity regarding the shock removal of Karen Breytenbach as the Head of South Africa’s Independent Power Producers Office. Breytenbach who oversaw the expansion of South Africa’s privately-owned renewable energy projects, stated yesterday that she has been asked to vacate her job nine months before her contract expires. She also stated in an interview that she was not provided with a reason for her removal – she only knows that the Department of Energy would like to appoint someone else in her place.

This comes as a great shock, as Breytenbach has won support from prominent figures in the energy industry for a programme that was seen as one of the world’s best in attracting rapid investment in solar and wind power.

The DA will be seeking clarity as to the reasons for Breytenbach’s forced departure. Her tenure has been characterised by the investment of R209 billion in the successful roll out of 112 renewable energy projects. She achieved these feats without succumbing to corruption or political pressure.

Breytenbach’s removal is indicative that Minister Mantashe and his team are not in favour of a Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) which alleviates fiscal pressure. It is for this reason that the Minister must provide Parliament with some clarity –

- Do IPPs (and particularly Renewable Energy IPPs) form part of the Integrated Resource Plan and his vision for South Africa’s energy security?

- Why was Breytenbach forced out of her contract early?

- Will he open bid window 5 and allow REIPPPs to compete for a share of the country's energy requirements?

The DA maintains that Breytenbach’s work is of the highest calibre, having generated wealth and investment in our economy, by remaining above politics and corruption. The failing ANC would do well to prevent the replacement of a hard-working, qualified and successful individual, with a cadre or political appointee.

South Africa’s energy security is in a precarious position, which requires sober thinking and foresight. The political games of past years cannot be played if we are going to ensure energy security, build the economy and create jobs.

Issued by Kevin Mileham, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, 23 July 2019