Mantashe claims Eskom’s power crisis can be resolved in 6 to 12 months

Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.

As South Africa remains in the grip of Stage 6 load shedding – with big electricity price hikes also now pending – Minister Gwede Mantashe claims the power crisis can be addressed in just six to 12 months.

“Eskom needs to do a self-examination: do we have the capacity to deal with the crisis? If not, we can look for that capacity… it will take us six to 12 months to solve this problem if we pay attention,” the Minister for Natural Resources and Energy said in an interview with eNCA on Friday.

Mantash’s comments come as the ANC, at its 55th National Conference, decided to move certain state-owned companies back into their relevant portfolios. This would mean that Eskom would move from Pravin Gordhan’s public enterprise division to Mantashe’s division.

Mantashe has openly criticized Eskom management, going so far last month as to accuse the utility CEO and his team of “actively agitating to overthrow the state” for failing to stop load shedding. Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter has since submitted his resignation.

“At Eskom we have connected 48,000 MW to the grid, but Eskom can only give us 26,000 MW at best. There are 22,000 MW that are idle but connected, they are not idle,” Mantashe said.

“And if you focused on maintaining and maintaining those megawatts, we wouldn’t have load shedding.”

Made with Flourish

Mantashe said the rollout of the government’s renewable energy program would then complement Eskom’s generation capacity in the medium to long term, noting that he “strongly believes in a mix of technologies” because he understands the shortcomings of renewable energy.

“But in the short term, we need our coal-fired power plant to generate optimally and provide us with energy,” he said.

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