While visiting the Beyerskloof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch on Tuesday, 9 April 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa also addressed the current troubles faced by Eskom.
President Cyril Ramaphosa used his visit to the Western Cape to address pertinent topics that currently riddle the country. When he was in Cape Town, Ramaphosa was amongst the first people to commute on the Passengers and Railway Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) commuter train – a first of its design in South Africa.
While officially launching the coaches, Ramaphosa took some time to engage with public transport commuters to give reassurance of behind-the-scenes work that is being done to ensure public transportation was safe for all.
Ramaphosa then visited the Beyerskloof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to address farm owners and business people about the land reform issue. During his speech, he also addressed the energy issue that is still a cause for concern in the country. Ramaphosa said that the government had since identified operational, financial and maintenance challenges that have pained Eskom for years.
“We were building large, ambitious coal power stations at a point when the world was saying ‘Wow, you South Africans are brave. We won’t be building large stations for a long time. We are going midstream’.
“We are far down the road, but our stations must be completed, and we need R36 billion to do that,” Ramaphosa said, referring to South Africa’s multi-billion-rand power plants, Medupi and Kusile, which Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has previously said were “badly designed”.
The president confirmed that there was constant monitoring over the Eskom situation, stating that Gordhan was receiving regular updates from the power utility.
“Gordhan monitors each of the stations to track their performance. He and his team collect the information and create spreadsheets and reports. He will then present the reports to me weekly. We are moving, and we will get to the bottom of this,” Ramaphosa pledged.
Although the president has reassured that the power troubles are under control, in the interim, the government has warned of dire consequences looming in the long haul. Eskom Holding SOC Ltd., which supplies a large amount of the country’s power, is expected to lose more than a quarter of its current generating capacity over the next ten years as it will be shutting down ageing coal-fired plants. The government has estimated that about R1 trillion is needed to meet the rising power demands but has said it would look to secure private investors to help fund new plants.