Minister Mantashe is delaying IPPs
6 March 2020
Minister Gwede Mantashe is delaying mines and municipalities the power to self-generate and procure electricity from independent power producers (IPPs) despite the very evident electricity crisis the country faces.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has reportedly indicated that the notice for public participation on section 34 ministerial determinations will only commence in a month’s time. And that the “concurrence” processes for these determinations will take between 3 and 6 months.
The fact is that there is no actual requirement for “concurrence” in legislation. Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act requires that the Minister “consult” NERSA, not that he seek concurrence. It is true that in the Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and Another v Minister of Energy and Others 2017 (5) SA 227 (WCC) court case, there were repeated references to “concurrence” and the process that was to be followed in terms thereof, but legislation is clear: section 34 only requires “consultation”. The court did not consider the fact that concurrence was not a legal requirement.
Furthermore, the applications for these ministerial determinations have been sitting on the Minister’s desk for 5 years. This prompted the City of Cape Town to take the Minister of Energy to court to expedite their application to purchase power from IPPs and the application will be heard at the end of May.
So why have the various Ministers of Energy been sitting on them?
In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Ramaphosa said that section 34 determinations would be issued shortly to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity. But there is clearly a difference between the President’s definition of “shortly” and that of Minister Mantashe and NERSA. At this rate, we will be unlikely to see any electricity out of these applications before the end of 2021.
The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to put his money where his mouth is and address the electricity crisis that every other part of government seems to be in complete denial over. We need to unblock the bureaucracy that is holding South Africa’s economy to ransom. Our country and our people deserve better.
Issued by Kevin Mileham, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, 6 March 2020