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Energy sufficiency key to S/Africa’s economic recovery – Ramaphosa

South Africa's struggling state-run power utility Eskom needs support from private energy producers to help drive the country's economic recovery,…

South Africa’s struggling state-run power utility Eskom needs support from private energy producers to help drive the country’s economic recovery, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.Speaking during a virtual media briefing, Ramaphosa said the ability to address South Africa’s energy crisis swiftly would determine the pace of the country’s economic recovery from the current recession and the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that resolving the energy supply shortfall and reducing the risk of load shedding is our single most important objective in reviving economic growth.

“This is because there is no economy that can really grow without energy security,” Ramaphosa said as he outlined his government’s economic recovery plans.

He said his government plans to amend the country’s laws to empower the private energy producers to contribute to the Eskom power grid to help achieve energy security and reduce the impact of current load shedding (energy rationing).

“This intervention reflects our determination to take the necessary action to achieve energy security and to reduce the impact of load shedding in businesses and households across the country,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “Eskom has a future in our country. Eskom is the biggest power generator with 45,000 megawatts. For anybody to build up this capacity it will take easily 30-50 years, in my book.”

According to Ramaphosa, Eskom would continue as a generator of energy as well as playing a central role in the economic recovery.

But right now, due to the challenges that Eskom was going through, “we need to ease that pressure on Eskom and allow other (power) generators to come to the fore,” he said.

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