Load-shedding in the province will not end by January 2024, as envisaged by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi misled the residents of this province when he boldly announced that load-shedding would no longer be a problem by January next year.
This information was revealed in a reply to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mzi Khumalo.
According to the MEC, a January 2024 deadline has been set to assess if all the interventions planned to be in place will be capable of relieving the province from load-shedding.
This is contrary to the utterances made by Premier Lesufi during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) and recently while commenting at the ANC’s national working committee meeting last month.
Furthermore, the GPG is unable to indicate what the total budget for the Merafong Solar Farm will be, as it will be funded by Independent Power Producers and the province will be facilitating the power purchase agreement to make this viable.
In addition, the exact locations of the new planned power stations have not yet been identified.
With only a few months left to go before the January 2024 deadline, it is clear that the Premier is using load-shedding just like he did e-Tolls as an electioneering tool. For a long time, the GPG has been talking about the Merafong Solar Farm and the rollout of roof-top solar panels.
It is disappointing that no tangible progress has been made in ensuring that the province is less reliant on Eskom for electricity. The higher stages of load-shedding that have been experienced over the last few weeks mean that residents are left without power for at least 10 hours a day.
These high stages of load-shedding and the ongoing load-shedding are putting a huge strain on the economy. Over 300 000 jobs were lost during 2022 due to load-shedding which cost an estimated R103 billion in potential Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not being realised.
Gauteng residents deserve a government that will give them proper timelines as to when to expect some relief from load-shedding. The longer this province is reliant on Eskom for electricity, the more job opportunities are lost.