President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on 12 February 2015, providing details about the government’s plan to resolve the electricity crisis in South Africa.
South Africa’s energy problems took centre stage over the last few months after Eskom started to implement load shedding again in late 2014.
Eskom’s unstable power supply not only frustrates citizens and businesses, it could also push economic growth to less than 2% this year.
In his address, Zuma said that resolving the energy crisis is a core component of the government’s plan to grow the economy and create jobs.
Zuma admitted SA is experience serious energy constraints, adding that “we are doing everything we can to resolve the energy crisis”.
Government’s plan to fix energy crisis
Zuma said that the government has short, medium, and long-term plans to resolve the energy crisis in South Africa.
He said the short and medium-term strategy involved improved maintenance by Eskom, enhancing the country’s electricity generation capacity, and managing electricity demand.
The long-term plan involves finalising government’s energy security master plan.
Zuma said there will be an increased focus on gas power, and that gas will be sourced locally and from the country’s neighbours.
Zuma added it is a priority for the government to stabilize Eskom’s electricity supply, and contain load shedding.
He said the government will ensure Eskom’s financial stability. This includes giving Eskom R23 billion in the next financial year.
Zuma asked all South Africans to work together to limit the need for load shedding by reducing electricity use. He urged South Africans to make use of gas where possible.
Zuma said the government is also exploring the procurement of a 9,600 megawatt nuclear build programme.
To date, the government has signed inter-governmental agreements and carried out vendor parade workshops in which five countries came to present their proposals on nuclear power.
These include the United States of America, South Korea, Russia, France, and China.
With regards to hydro power, the Grand Inga Hydro-electrical Project partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo will generate over 48,000 megawatts of hydro-electricity.
South Africa will have access to over 15,000 megawatts of that power.