A South African court agreed on Thursday to postpone an appeal against a state emergency power tender, the company which brought the case said, further delaying a plan aimed at ending years of serious electricity shortages.
The dispute, at a time when government is also looking to add new wind and solar projects, threatens the credibility of South Africa’s renewable energy programme and will prolong an energy crisis that regularly plunges the country into darkness.
The country’s parliament and police have been investigating allegations of wrongdoing in the 2 000 megawatt tender that were made by DNG Energy, which lost out in the tender and brought the appeal. The energy ministry has denied wrongdoing.
The company had requested the High Court in Pretoria to postpone its appeal so it could include the official findings in its case.
“This is positive news for DNG and it will ensure that the court is provided with a full and accurate record of evidence,” Aldworth Mbalati, group chief executive for DNG Energy said in a statement.
South Africa’s energy ministry chose eight preferred bidders in March, including Turkey’s Karpowership, to provide emergency electricity and help prop up the country’s ailing power supply. Another three preffered bidders were added later.
Launched two years ago when South Africa was suffering some of its worst power cuts in a decade, the tender aimed to find the cheapest and quickest ways to ease a shortage that has cost the continent’s most industrialised economy billions of dollars.
The department of energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is set to proceed on November 30 and December 1 and 2.