South Africa

R100 million committed to end load-shedding

A South African business group has secured commitments of R100 million to capitalize a fund in support of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to end rolling blackouts and reform the electricity sector.

The Resource Mobilisation Fund was established in response to the president’s request to private businesses to help capacitate the National Energy Crisis Committee, known as Necom, which is run out of his office.

Business for South Africa secured the pledges from local companies and international donors over a four-month period, Martin Kingston, its chairman, said in an online press conference Thursday.

South Africa is enduring its worst-ever electricity rationing, known locally as load-shedding, with state power utility Eskom subjecting the country to blackouts every day this year to protect the national grid from collapse as its old and poorly maintained coal-fired power plants struggle to meet demand.

The money raised will be used to procure capacity and expertise to help support the implementation of the country’s Energy Action Plan over one to two years.

The model seeks to address concerns about the potential mismanagement of funds under a fast-tracked procurement process that’s permissible under a national state of disaster that the government has declared to enable it to step up its response to the energy crisis.

“The Resource Mobilisation Fund exists only to receive and raise donations, procure capacity and skillsets, donate these to Necom and then report back appropriately,” and won’t engage in policy advocacy, said Kingston, who is also executive chairman of the local unit of Rothschild & Co.

Necom will seek project management, legal and energy modelling expertise through the fund, said Rudi Dicks, the head of the presidency’s project management office.


Top JSE indices