Yesterday the DA Western Cape Committee Chairperson for Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism issued a statement welcoming Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe's agreement to engage on issues around the use of Independent Power Producers in the province.
Unfortunately, this was misinterpreted to mean that Minister Mantashe had agreed to our request to allow municipalities to purchase power from IPPs, which would go a long way to ensuring our energy security.
The obvious excitement this evoked showed just how much people want IPPs to be a part of the energy mix, and highlights the anxiety many ordinary South Africans feel about their energy future, in the face of both load shedding and climate change.
The Western Cape can play a positive role in helping South Africans secure their energy future. If the City of Cape Town and some of the province's municipalities directly contract with IPPs, this would alleviate some of the immense pressure that Eskom is currently experiencing and would give Eskom the opportunity to address its growing maintenance backlog.
This would be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The integrated resource plan (IRP) determines the mix of electricity that the country requires. In this IRP there is an allocation that we believe can be procured by Western Cape Municipalities and the Metro without any National Treasury Guarantees.
I believe that the positive sentiment expressed in the wake of the misinterpretation shows that South Africans are ready to become a part of the solution. I hope that this wave of positive sentiment also gives Minister Mantashe the impetus to complete the agreed upon engagement with rigour, and to urgently sign off on our request to procure energy from independent producers.
The Western Cape Government welcomes Minister Mantashe's invitation to engage on this matter through the NCOP and will definitely be using this opportunity to make our case.
With a new CEO at the helm of Eskom, we look forward exciting announcements coming out of the utility, one of which we hope is that IPPs will be given prominence in our future energy mix.
We wish the CEO well as he works to stabilise energy security in our country.