South Africa has a plan to improve energy provision that will end the need for any power cuts within the next 12-18 months, finance minister Enoch Godongwana said.
“Eventually in the next 12-18 months we will be able to say load shedding is a thing of the past. That is the target,” Godongwana said on Monday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort of Davos.
Godongwana said stage-6 load shedding would no longer be needed within about five months as facilities are revamped and measures such as demand management take effect.
However, asked whether Eskom could expect to be allocated more cash for diesel to help reduce the level of power cuts, he said: “I don’t think Eskom has a diesel problem, I think Eskom has a management problem.”
Referring to a move last week by South Africa’s energy regulator to approve an 18.65% power price rise for the financial year starting on 1 April, he said: “I suspect it is going to give them (Eskom) sufficient resources to be able to deal with all of that stuff.”
Godongwana insisted the rand, which on Monday fell against the dollar as investors worried about the power supply situation, “has proven to be resilient”, but he said South Africa needed to better communicate that it was tackling the problem.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who earlier cancelled plans to attend the annual WEF meeting over the crisis, would refer to those efforts in his 9 February state of the nation address, said Godongwana.
He would not elaborate on proposals for the state to take on a share of Eskom’s R400-billion of debt, saying he was “sharpening his pencil” to provide the details on his 23 February budget presentation. — Mark John, (c) 2023 Reuters