On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, released an economic strategy paper which sets out practical proposals for reforms needed to get the economy growing, including selling some of Eskom’s coal-fired plants as part of restructuring the state-owned power utility.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes this move which is in line with our Cheaper Energy Bill. We hold the view that this proposal will free up billions of rands which Eskom and our economy desperately needs.
Treasury’s proposed move will also help Independent Power Producers (IPP) enter into the energy industry by giving them rare access to the national grid and allowing them to sell their output – thus reducing Eskom’s hegemony and control of almost the entire electricity industry.
If implemented, it will indicate that government is serious about attracting investment in the sector by allowing private entities to become power producers.
Treasury’s proposals on Eskom are in line with the DA’s Cheaper Energy Bill, which is an alternative plan to save and stabilise Eskom to secure South Africa’s power supply. Breaking Eskom into two separate entities – a generation entity which is privatised and a transmission/distribution entity and ensure that South Africa is not being forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement which has taken place at Eskom.
The DA will be sending a summary of the Cheaper Energy Bill to Minister Mboweni and request a meeting to discuss the contents thereof. We were serious when we stated that we intend on being a constructive opposition where the ANC government puts the progress of our country first.
Minister Mboweni’s proposals can only be effective if they are implemented. We can almost certainly expect, that it will face stubborn resistance from certain factions within the ANC that is bent on radical policies of increased state control over every aspect of the economy.
That said, the DA will continue to fight for an efficient and well managed Eskom, which will put the interests of the country first because South Africans deserve reliable energy to the economy to empower people to grow the economy and create jobs for the millions of unemployed South Africans.
We believe that politics and ideology should not stand in the way of solutions that seek to get the power utility back to sustainable levels – in fact such solutions must be applauded and supported by all South African.
We need Eskom to fix its damaged finances that almost brought our economy to a brink of a collapse.
We will closely monitor the developments and hope that this turnaround strategy will be implemented in a transparent manner, so that citizens who will be affected by the changes can be the center of the solutions.
Natasha Mazzone MP
DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
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