It is difficult to understand why the main limitations to private power generation have not been removed, despite repeated pledges from the government to do so. There is a real danger that while grappling with the immediate crisis, policymakers will shelve the issue indefinitely.
Demand for electricity has plunged with the onset of South Africa's Covid-19 lockdown, removing the threat of load shedding for its three-week duration. It could be several months before the economy is up and running normally again, but it would be a big mistake to forget the power constraints which plagued South Africa in the weeks before the pandemic struck.
When Moody's downgraded SA on 27 March, it pointed out that unreliable electricity supply and its impact on the economy was one of the main reasons for the decision. The rating agency also pointed out that a strategy to stabilise electricity production has failed to materialise and that, as a result, economic growth would remain low for years. Returning to a constrained electricity supply without an adequate government response is the last thing embattled businesses need after Covid-19.
Against this background, it is difficult to understand why the main limitations to private power generation have not...