Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has hit back at criticism he is responsible for Eskom’s ongoing power outages after embattled utility SA plunged into Tier 6 load shedding this week.
Many disaffected South Africans, including the DA, said Mantashe should be fired from Eskom over the power crisis.
Before stage six is implemented, the opposition claimed Blackouts highlighted “the failure of the ANC government and in particular a number of energy ministers and Eskom war centers”.
“Gwede Mantashe deserves to be singled out, however. As Minister responsible for securing SA’s electricity needs and planning its energy future, he has been obstructive and combative in his approach to proposed solutions.
“Mantashe has proven that he’s a complete failure when it comes to dealing with SA’s energy crisis.”
Speaking to News24, Mantashe said it was unfair that he was accused of load shedding will.
“It’s unfair to blame myself or the government. What should I do with Eskom as minister of raw materials and energy? The energy supplier is an issue that falls under public companies,” Mantashe said.
He said the government has gone a step further by introducing a supplementary program to compensate have the shortcomings at Eskom.
The program Mantashe was referring to is tender windows one, two, three and four of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. span >
“We’re actually aggressively implementing the add-on, but the more we implement it, the worse Eskom gets. What do I do with it?” he said.
Previously, Mantashe criticized Eskom’s management, saying he couldn’t understand why the utility was resorting to load shedding when it said it had enough power in its reserves.
This happened after the utility company announced that load shedding would be reduced to level 2 and reverted to level 3.
Speaking of eNCA, Mantashe said that Eskom should use more of its spare capacity.
According to him, Eskom has access to about 6,000 MW of additional reserve capacity that could be used to avoid load shedding.
“I hear that 6,000 MW, but I know that Eskom has 45,000 MW of connected capacity. It operates at 30,000 MW. Therefore, the shortage of 15,000 MW is due to Eskom’s sub-optimal operation,” said Mantashe.
“If we implement the supplementary program to increase power generation, Eskom can also be optimized. You have 15,000 MW that is idle. There’s a lot of energy that’s not being used for one reason or another,” he said.
TimesLIVEconducted a survey asked readers if Mantashe and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan were responsible for load shedding in stage 6.
The majority of voters (44%) said ministers should be held accountable for Eskom’s failures.
38% said Eskom’s problems began long before the two were in office, and 16% said they don’t care who is at fault.
3% said Mantashe and Gordhan were not to blame and SA needed to look at the utility’s management.
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