We’re on the verge of finding tangible solutions to energy crisis: ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) says it has had positive engagements with energy experts from all over the world and it is on the verge of finding tangible solutions for the country’s energy crisis.

The party will be holding its national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla this week starting from Thursday.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula says the party will come out with a tangible and workable solution from this meeting to help end the current rolling blackouts.

He was speaking at the ANC Energy Dialogue at the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Mbalula says the party is looking to resolve the country’s energy crisis.

Recent public engagements have yielded positive outcomes.

He moderated the discussion attended by academics, students and business leaders.

The party has been under pressure from voters affected by regular power cuts for almost two decades.

South Africans will go to the national polls in 2024.

Mbalula says the decision to deal with the energy crisis will be announced soon.

And even when our ministers are going astray in terms of transformation, there is no voice to listen to the different sectors. I hear a lot of young people, saying all sorts of things and that we don’t create platforms to engage with them. So this platform, as much as we’re theorising about the future, we are solution oriented. We are in a crisis. We agree. We are in a crisis.” 

Mbalula has also urged the different government departments to work together instead of talking past each other when engaging on the crisis facing Eskom.

“I’m not interested to hear about the complaints. I see Mantashe [Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe] is under attack. I can explain where that attack comes from, is under attack from a group of sections of our society. I can see that, but Eskom is run by De Ruyter [Eskom CEO André de Ruyter] and Eskom is under [Minister of Public Enterprises] Pravin Gordhan. And Pravin Gordhan belongs to Cabinet and both of them are ANC ministers. So, we don’t want contradiction in public. Tell the public what we are doing to resolve the problem we are in.” 

Also speaking at the ANC Energy dialogue was German State Secretary Jorg Kukkie.

Addressing the event virtually from Berlin – he said Germany has been trying to find balance in being carbon neutral by 2035 to meet the Paris agreement.

The country has been widely criticized for extending the use of mothballed coal-fired power plants until March 2024.

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Kukies says they have been sidetracked in their renewable plans by the Russia/ Ukraine war.

This is because of the growing energy demand, they have had to use coal to power some of their plants.

“Russia stopped delivering gas and we had a reaction to that and we are no longer importing coal or oil from Russia. We are undergoing a bit of sidestep by increasing the domestic production. You may have seen some controversial projects where coal is an element where in the short run, we have to increase our domestic production of coal, to substitute our other fossil sources of energy that used to come from Russia that no longer are coming from Russia,” adds Kukies.

Kukies says despite the setback, it has not distracted Germany from its medium to long-term goal of moving entirely into renewable energy.

He says his country is also making plans to export renewable energy to other countries like South Africa.

“Like when he visited South Africa, of course, [we] had a lot of conversations on this topic. We will be importing a huge amount of green hydrogen from other parts of the world that have more advantageous conditions for renewable energies than we do.”

“So the partnership that Minister Hobieck struck when he was in South Africa, is something that we want to build on. Because [it] we will be very interesting on the one side in supporting your transition, but on the other side working together, and potentially, if there is interest from your side, to also import green hydrogen potentially coming from South Africa.”

The University of Witwatersrand’s Kenneth Creamer has urged government to get its energy transition correct – as this can become the new driver for the economy.

He has called for the Just Energy Transition to be managed properly.

There are concerns that the sudden move towards cleaner sources of energy could cripple the coal mining sector resulting in job losses and the destruction of other industries that are dependent on coal mining.

ANC’s dialogue with stakeholders in the energy sector: Pule Mabe

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Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)