25 March 2019

South Africa: DA's Energy Solution Can Work Within a Week - Natasha Mazzone

Independent power producers (IPP), privatisation and solar energy will help fix the country's energy problems, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.

Maimane was speaking at a press conference in Bruma, Ekurhuleni, and was accompanied by one of the party's most vocal leaders on state-owned enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, who said the DA believed the party had energy solutions that "could work as quickly as next week".

"All we require is that the ANC put aside ideological differences with the DA. Sit down with us and look at the proposals that we have. These proposals are costed. They have been looked at by experts because we don't think it's commercially sensitive," Mazzone said.

The party also announced that it would march to the Union Buildings on Friday to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to reveal his plans on averting a national blackout.

The DA believes government should partially privatise Eskom and allow for competition.

The solution also includes the unbundling of Eskom into two entities, supply and distribution.

"The distribution component ought to face competition. It ought to be allowed to say when municipalities are able to purchase electricity directly they can be able to do so. This is vital if we are going to avert this crisis," Maimane added.

The party has called for Parliament to reconvene to address the energy challenge, he said.

High cost of IPPs 'a fallacy'

Parliament has currently risen to allow for parties to campaign for the upcoming general elections on May 8.

Renewable energy is another component which Maimane said government must use to respond to the power crisis. He said the country could not be 80% dependent on coal.

"The coal-fired power stations that Eskom is dependent on become expensive, naturally, because some of the tenders are corrupt.

"[Eskom] ought to diversify its energy if we are going to live," Maimane said.

He said bringing sustainability to the grid required heavier investment in sustainable energy.

He accused the government of stalling the introduction of renewable energy because it would threaten the sustainability of Eskom, adding the cost of solar energy was much cheaper.

"The notion that says that IPPs will come into the grid at a much higher cost is a fallacy," Maimane said, adding that with the party's plan, the skills of Eskom workers can be diversified to allocate them to different areas.

"So that all people can be working, not less."

Source: News24

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