GOOD statement by Brett Herron,
GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
02 August 2022
With the looming threat of power cuts across South Africa once again, it’s clear that the President’s plan in response to our energy crisis is a commonsense plan that is 15 years too late.
The cutting of red tape, focus on renewable energy production and mass infrastructure repairs are not ideas that are revolutionary by any means.
While this plan and the coming together of the National Energy Crisis Committee of Ministers is a positive step forward, it’s one that needs to be welcomed with caution.
Grand plans have been a common theme of ANC led governments since “load shedding” first rocked South Africa in 2007 and there are numerous instances of ‘crisis’ plans or committees not fulfilling their role.
Yesterday, the energy crisis committee revealed the first steps in the president’s plan including short to medium term measures focusing on the refurbishment of six power plants, purchasing energy from our neighbours, and increasing our renewable energy output.
While parts of the plan are sound, the country still faces major challenges around dealing with Eskom’s unsustainable debt and ensuring that a just energy transition remains a key focus.
A just transition requires us to migrate from the dominance of coal-fired power to a more sustainable and less harmful energy mix whilst ensuring the livelihoods that are dependent on coal, are not left behind.
The just transition will not happen unless it is properly planned for and managed. In the absence of a just transition plan, large scale economic harm will be experienced by thousands of people who work in the coal sector and new job opportunities arising from the production of green energy will be lost – outsourced to beneficiaries living elsewhere in the world.
Furthermore, Minister Cele was “surprised” to have been added to this committee despite theft and crime syndicates targeting energy suppliers to the point where individuals fear for their safety and that of their families. A fact that he himself admitted. The irony of this is evident.
And while this energy crisis plan is a sigh of relief for some, others will see opportunity in exploiting a crisis. Eskom was stripped and pillaged in broad daylight and only now years later do we see any hope of justice.
As GOOD, we maintain that South Africa does not have time for mere talk and promises. While we are aware that loadshedding will remain a possibility for years to come while we deal with the crisis, it remains a reminder that we cannot just simply act when we seem to be facing a crisis.
Brett Herron, GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
Janke Tolmay, GOOD: Media Manager