Power utility Eskom will need additional energy of between 4 000 and 6 000 megawatts in order to effectively carry out maintenance of its ailing power plans without having to resort to load shedding, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.
Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly, Gordhan said:
“Clearly it is our priority as government and certainly within my portfolio and more importantly of the board and of the management, to ensure that we prioritise stability within the energy system.
“But the reality, as has been repeated on many occasions, is that Eskom requires a space of about 4000 to 6000 megawatts of additional energy so that the necessary maintenance can be undertaken.
“It is also a well-established fact chairperson, and this is also in the report of the Zondo Commission, that there has been neglect on the maintenance side for many years, particularly during the state capture period, in order to ensure that ‘the lights stay on’. That is the legacy that we have to now overcome.”
As Eskom announced that Stage 2 load shedding would continue until Monday, Gordhan said there will be stability in the power grid in the next year or so.
“So there will be some stability in the next year or more but what we require is this 4000 to 6000 megawatts of energy which needs to be brought online. And that is our priority.”
Calls for those implicated in Zondo report to be jailed
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo released the latest instalment of his State Capture report over a week ago. The report found that Eskom entered into irregular contracts worth R14.7 billion.
In his supplementary question, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart asked Gordhan if he agreed that the looted funds should be recovered, as they would have gone a long way to ensure that there is better maintenance of the power plants.
He also asked if Gordhan agreed that steps should be taken to recover the looted funds and that those implicated in the corruption should be put behind bars.
“I absolutely agree [with MP Swart] that the time has now come for the law enforcement agencies not only to show their teeth, but to use their teeth. And ensure that that which the Republic of South Africa wants – which is these affected and listed people in these reports – to now account for the manner in which they have done a disservice to this country and find themselves appropriate and orange overalls as well.
“On the question of funds being retrieved, that is an absolute priority as well and Eskom and its board have taken an important initiative as well of lodging a claim of R3 billion against former directors on the Eskom board during the state capture period and the management of that time.”