President Cyril Ramaphosa made bold claims about the energy crisis and fixing Eskom, which energy analyst Chris Yelland said is patently false.
Ramaphosa told the media during the ANC’S National Working Committee’s (NWC’s) Gauteng visit that the government is doing great work to fix Eskom and the energy crisis.
“The government on its own is repairing the state-owned enterprises and the areas that need reforms,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that the energy crisis has been there for years and that the ANC government is now correcting it.
“Energy has been a great drawback to us, but we are working on it, and we are certain that by 2024, the energy crisis will be over,” he said.
The President added that the government is “ramping up more and more generation of energy”, which will resolve the crisis.
“Now we have to attend to the transmission. So, the government is not sleeping on the job. The government is busy day in and day out to address the crisis.”
Yelland said these are the words of a politician as Ramaphosa was speaking as the President of the ruling ANC.
“This is the type of election talk, with big promises and bold statements, that we have become used to,” he said.
He said there is great uncertainty whether Ramaphosa was referring to the start or end of 2024 as the date the energy crisis would be resolved.
“I would have hoped that the President learned from past experience not to make bold and ill-informed statements,” Yelland said.
In 2019, for example, Ramaphosa promised that there would be no load-shedding over Christmas. However, there was severe load-shedding over the festive season.
“The President needs to be very careful about listening to his advisors. He should not play to the crowd because people take his words seriously.”
Yelland said it was particularly concerning that Ramaphosa claimed the government was repairing Eskom on its own.
“That is factually wrong. The electricity minister always points to the good work of the Eskom management to turn the company around,” he said.
“To suggest that it is the government, on its own, repairing Eskom is political talk.”
Yelland urged Ramaphosa to be cautious about predicting that load-shedding will end by next year.
He expects a significant reduction in the intensity of load-shedding during the 2024 calendar year because of more generation capacity coming on stream.
“Kusile’s Units 1, 2, and 3 will come back online, and Unit 5 is expected to come on stream in April 2024,” he said.
There is also a significant amount of rooftop solar PV, battery energy storage, and land-based solar and wind generation coming online.
Eskom’s improved generation capacity, mainly through the Kusile Power Station, in addition to solar and wind power, will help to alleviate load-shedding.
However, Yelland said he would not predict it would be enough to end load-shedding. “That is setting yourself up for failure,” he said.