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Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa is to take on the newly established position of minister of electricity, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday evening, 6 March.
Ramaphosa said Ramokgopa’s primary goal will be to drive a significant reduction in the “severity and frequency of load shedding as a matter of urgency” and to expedite work to ensure the full implementation of the Energy Action Plan.
“To effectively oversee the electricity crisis response, the appointed minister will have political responsibility, authority and control over all critical aspects of the Energy Action Plan. This will help to deal with the challenge of fragmentation of responsibility across various departments and ministers which, while appropriate under normal circumstances, is not conducive to a crisis response.
“The minister will be expected to facilitate the coordination of the numerous departments and entities involved in the crisis response, work with the Eskom leadership to turn around the performance of existing power stations, and accelerate the procurement of new generation capacity,” he said.
At the time of his appointment, Ramokgopa held the position of head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency – a position he held since 2019.
Empowered to carry out urgent actions
The new minister of electricity in the Presidency will be empowered to carry out his duties through the transfer of certain powers and functions from the president in terms of the Constitution.
Ramaphosa explained that the minister will also be empowered to carry out urgent actions needed to resolve the energy crisis through the recently gazetted National State of Disaster related to electricity regulations.
“The recently published disaster regulations empower the minister of electricity to issue directions to, among others, exclude critical facilities from load shedding where technically feasible; expedite various regulatory processes for energy projects; and enable Eskom to undertake critical maintenance more quickly and efficiently.”
Ramaphosa added that the new minister will stay in office “for as long as it is necessary to resolve the electricity crisis”.
New portfolio for Ramokgopa
Ramokgopa previously worked as the member of executive committee (MEC) for economic development, agriculture and environment in Gauteng. He served as the mayor of the Tshwane municipality from 2010 for five years.
Ramokgopa was also the CEO of both the Metropolitan Trading Company and the Johannesburg Market and was deputy chairperson of the board of Trade and Investment in Limpopo.
He holds a Doctorate (PhD) in Public Affairs, a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Business Leadership.