Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again misled the residents of this province by promising that load-shedding will be a thing of the past by the end of January 2024 last year August.
His deadline has passed, and we are still experiencing various stages of load-shedding with no end in sight.
Load-shedding continues to have a severe negative impact on our economy and critical infrastructure.
So far, only a Gauteng Emergency Energy Council has been established to oversee the implementation of the Energy Crisis Response Plan. However, this plan does not outline what measures will be implemented to ease the burden of load-shedding on our residents. This was revealed in a written reply to our questions, tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to the Premier.
According to Lesufi, the provincial government will be doing the following:
• Removal of all illegal electricity connections;
• Roll out of smart meters for every household and business in Gauteng;
• Cleaning up the municipal billing system to improve revenue collection;
• Cleaning up the indigent register and
• Fixing all broken transformers.
These steps taken by the provincial government focus on general maintenance, which will have no impact on reducing load-shedding in the province. Furthermore, the provincial government does not have any plans to engage with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Instead, a budget has been set aside for municipalities to support the rollout of various energy interventions.
This is worrying, as some of our municipalities are not adequately equipped to handle their finances and implement such big projects. The DA proposes that the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) be at the forefront of ensuring that our municipalities procure additional electricity to mitigate load-shedding instead of passing this responsibility to municipalities.
Gauteng can learn from the Western Cape Provincial Government, which has procured additional supplies of electricity that allow for either lower stages of load-shedding or no load-shedding. In Tshwane, plans are already afoot to lease Rooiwaal and Pretoria West power stations to private power producers so that the City of Tshwane can be less reliant on Eskom.