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SA plans steps to accelerate increase in power supply

The government is consulting on the measures and will announce a ‘comprehensive set of actions’ in the coming days on how it intends to tackle power outages.
Image: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

South Africa is preparing steps to accelerate an increase in electricity supply after state power utility Eskom implemented record blackouts.

The government is consulting on the measures and will announce a “comprehensive set of actions” in the coming days on how it intends to tackle power outages, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday in his weekly newsletter.

Eskom last month announced so-called level 6 power cuts — in which 6 000 megawatts is removed from the national grid — for the first time in more than two years. The outages led to calls from business, labour unions and opposition parties for Ramaphosa and his government to take urgent action.

Steps include lifting the cap above which a private project must apply for a generation license to 100 megawatts, and making land available alongside existing power plants for private investment in renewable energy. While those measures will bear fruit over coming months, they aren’t enough to fully address the crisis, Ramaphosa said.

“The message is clear: this is no time for business a usual,” he said. “We need to act boldly to make loadshedding a thing of the past,” he said, using the local term for planned outages.

South Africa’s National Planning Commission, a department of the presidency, recommended in a report last week that the government should remove the limit above which a private power project must apply for a generation license, simplify the registration process and streamline environmental and water-use approvals.

The nation’s main labour-union federation has also backed proposals by the main business-lobby groups that the government fast-track the procurement of electricity from private providers, to enable more generating capacity to be brought online quicker.

“They really do have to move with speed because this crisis is suffocating the economy,” said Mathew Parks, parliamentary coordinator for the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said by phone on Monday. “We are in a crisis and we simply do not have the luxury of time. Jobs are dependent on this.”

© 2022 Bloomberg

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“The government is consulting on the measures and will announce a ‘comprehensive set of actions’ in the coming days on how it intends to tackle power outages.”

Another fairy tale to read to your children when they ask why they can’t use their smartphones or watch TV before bedtime.

And why Mommy is screaming in the kitchen as the oven power shuts off on her long-prepared supper.

Any nation that is dependent on a National Planning Commission for economic and social solutions will inevitably decay into a state of economic stagnation, rampant unemployment, and social unrest. This is a given.

Are these Central Planners from another planet? Were they not born in the same mud hut on the hillside, or in the shack in the township, among the spilled sewage, as the rest of the population? Did they not attend the same derelict schools with the same unmotivated and absent SADTU teachers? Do they possess an ability to predict the future and to know what is best for consumers while those very consumers cannot even predict their own spending habits 12 months in advance?

“Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system of the country would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable…it would have complete power to decide what we are to be given and on what terms. It would not only decide what commodities and services were to be available and in what quantities; it would be able to direct their distributions between persons to any degree it liked.”
― Friedrich August von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

We in the young and vibrant democracy of South Africa will never drive down The Road to Serfdom, simply because it will be filled with potholes, rubble and wandering pedestrians.

End of comments.

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