South Africa: Maimane - Govt Should Fast Track Deals With Motsepe and Co IPPs to Help Ailing Eskom

DA leader Mmusi Maimane wants the government to allow billionaire Patrice Motsepe and other independent power producers (IPP) to contribute to the power grid.

The opposition leader was speaking to a small group of his party supporters outside Eskom's head offices in Megawatt Park, Sunninghill on Wednesday.

He said load shedding was the creation of an "ignorant" ANC government which did not want IPPs to function so that top Eskom officials could continue benefitting from the state-owned entity.

"During the national day of action, we will ensure that we communicate effectively that the ANC government has failed the people of South Africa and that we need a plan immediately that will ensure that we do not continue with load shedding. And if you want to keep the lights on, vote DA," Maimane said.

He stood on a ladder, which had been propped up against a pole, where he put up one of his party's posters.

Maimane added that South Africa was in a crisis and that load shedding was not helping the "grappling economy".

"Our view is that we must call upon all sectors of society and put together a plan to ensure that the grid is stabilised, and the immediate people to contact should be big energy producers, such as aluminium smelters."

He reiterated that Eskom should be broken into two entities - one for distribution and the other for generation.

The DA leader said ultimately, the distribution entity should be privatised so that other power producers could compete with it.

This is in contrast to the plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address stating that Eskom will be split into three separate state entities.

"The ANC will not face up to its own stakeholders... and wants to protect its own alliances, rather than the citizens," he said.

The DA's second deputy federal chairperson, Natasha Mazzone, who joined Maimane, added that "95% of the power on SA's grid was produced by a mismanaged power utility which does not have a secured baseline".

"Motsepe has got companies and he is not the only one [who has an interest in IPPs]... and given the chance, as soon as next week, [they could] start adding their energy into the grid," said Mazzone.

There were allegations that the IPP procurement programme bidding process, which is currently under way, is questionable.

But Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has dismissed this and at a press briefing in February, he said "the tender process is fair, open and transparent".

Just days before Radebe's briefing, his brother-in-law, Motsepe, held his own press briefing in which he explained that none of the renewable energy projects linked to his company, African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP), were received directly from the government.

The EFF earlier suggested that both Ramaphosa and Radebe had personal interests in IPPs.

Both men are linked to Motsepe, whose company is invested in at least nine IPP projects.

Ramaphosa is married to Dr Tshepo Motsepe and Radebe is married to Bridgette Motsepe. Both are Patrice's sisters.

Mazzone claimed that the reason the government had not expedited talks to have IPPs urgently was because Eskom was at the heart of state capture and was used as a "cash cow for top ANC officials" for many years to "fund election campaigns".

Turning her attention to unions which are fighting the introduction of IPPs, Mazzone said: "When unions tell you that you will lose jobs, that is an absolute blatant lie, because they will be building new power stations".

Source: News24

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