Worst load-shedding behind South Africa — Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the worst of load-shedding is behind South Africa and that the end of the rotational power cuts is “within reach”.

Ramaphosa made these remarks in his 2024 State of the Nation Address on 8 February 2024.

The president said that the country’s energy crisis and logistical challenges were the two biggest obstacles to unleashing the “true potential” of South Africa’s economy.

He praised his government for setting out and implementing a “clear plan” to end load-shedding.

“With a single-minded focus through the National Energy Crisis committee, we have delivered on our commitments to bring substantial new power through private investment on the grid, which is already helping to reduce load-shedding,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa primarily punted the growth of private electricity generation as the key driver in resolving the country’s power crisis.

“Since we revived our renewable energy programme five years ago, we have connected more than 2,500MW of solar and wind power to the grid, with three times this amount already in procurement or construction,” Ramaphosa said.

He also said there were more than 120 large private power projects in the pipeline, set to be connected to Eskom’s grid.

Ramaphosa credited his government for helping to significantly increase rooftop solar capacity among households and private businesses.

“Through tax incentives and financial support, we have more than doubled the amount of rooftop solar capacity installed across the country in just the past year,” Ramaphosa said.

The president did not acknowledge that the reason most people were installing these systems in the first place was due to his government’s failure to resolve or relieve load-shedding.

Three of the worst years of load-shedding have come under Ramaphosa’s five-year tenure.

The tax incentives, which have only been in effect since 1 April 2023, have also been widely slammed as insufficient by energy experts and economists, particularly for households.

The incentives only provide for up to 25% in rebates on solar panels, and exclude inverters and batteries. The latter is particularly important in taking strain off the grid during evening peak demand periods.

Despite these shortcomings, South Africa has seen a surge in rooftop solar adoption, nearly doubling the amount of private embedded solar generation between 2022 and 2023.

Eskom recently told MyBroadband that this has resulted in a reduction in daytime load-shedding.

Ramaphosa labelled the improvements in private power capacity as “phenomenal developments” driving the restructuring of the electricity sector in line with what many other economies have done to increase competitiveness and to bring down their energy prices.

“Through all these actions, we are confident that the worst is behind us and the end of load-shedding is finally within reach.”

“Never again”

The president said that the government aimed to ensure South Africa never faced a similar crisis again.

“We are reforming our energy system to make it more competitive, more sustainable and reliable into the future,” the president stated.

“Last year, we implemented a major debt relief package which will enable Eskom to make investments in maintenance and transmission infrastructure and ensure its sustainability going forward,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are going to build more than 14,000km of new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy over the coming years.”

“To fast-track this process, we will enable investment in transmission infrastructure through a variety of innovative investment models.”

Ramaphosa also mentioned that the government had approved the electricity amendment bill to support the restructuring of Eskom and establish a competitive electricity market.

“As we undertake these reforms, we are positioning our economy for future growth in a world shaped by climate change and a revolution in grid technologies,” the president said.

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
Worst load-shedding behind South Africa — Ramaphosa