The government is looking at building a third coal-fired power station to support the Medupi and Kusile stations, as part of a range of measures to help South Africa grow its own economy in the face of sluggish global growth, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Speaking to reporters in Pretoria on Thursday, Davies said that the recent Cabinet lekgotla had noted that South Africa could no longer rely on the global economy to reignite growth and job creation.
"The focus of government, business and labour must be on accelerated implementation of domestic plans to grow the economy in an exclusive way and create jobs as well as seizing opportunities in the region."
As part of this drive, the Cabinet had agreed to take immediate steps to resolve South Africa's energy constraints.
These steps, Davies said, included moving on plans to build a third coal-fired power station, finalising the process of authorising shale gas exploration in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner, and exploring opportunities in the biofuels industry.
Davies said the state would further:
Accelerate the delivery of the various infrastructure programmes overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Council.
Stimulate agriculture and agro-processing by finalising the Agricultural Policy Action Plan by the end of September.
Improve support for the small business sector by creating a one-stop shop and portal for SMMEs.
Stabilise the mining sector by supporting the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry.
The framework agreement, signed by the government, mining companies and organised labour (with exception of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) in July, provides the basis for cooperation to stabilise the mining sector and set it on a sustainable footing.
Davies said the Cabinet had also resolved to step up its youth and public employment initiatives through a new phase of the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) - the current phase is coming to an end - and the expansion of the community works programme.
This would include implementation of youth employment incentives and an employment tax incentive for special economic zones.
More than three-million work opportunities have been created by the EPWP since the programme's inception in 2004.
In June, Eskom, employers and labour at the Medupi and Kusile construction sites reached an agreement to stabilise labour relations and speed up the delivery of the two power stations
Medupi, one of the two large coal-fired stations that state company Eskom is building, is a 4 764 MW coal-fired power station located near Lephalale in Limpopo province.
Due to deliver its first power in the second half of 2014, Medupi will be the first South African power station to have "super-critical" technology, and one of the world's largest dry-cooled stations, so it will much more efficient than older coal-fired stations.
The other station, Kusile, is located in Mpumalanga province and will have the same technology but with the addition of flue-gas desulphurisation, a state-of-the art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur from the exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil. Kusile is due to deliver its first power in 2015.