By Neelam Rahim
South African households and businesses are again under pressure after Eskom started load shedding yesterday evening, with further rolling blackouts possible today and tomorrow. At the same time, Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse says the municipality intends to buy 500 megawatts of electricity from independent producers to help avert ongoing power outages in South Africa’s economic hub.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, mayoral spokesperson Mabine Seabe said the analysis conducted by Eskom requires procurement of additional 500 megawatts.
He says Eskom also needs 100 megawatts of electricity per load shedding stage. Eskom has procured 200 megawatts today, and if stage 2 load shedding were to kick in, Johannesburg would be saved from the crisis.
According to Mabine, the request for proposal framework is sitting with National Treasury, waiting for approval. Once approved, advertising can begin, and ultimately a timeline of around 18 to 36 months has been looked at to procure the power.
“In the interim, we have allocated the largest capital expenditure share of R1.2 Billion to City Power.”
This will help City Power to refurbish and upgrade. As well as an additional R1.6 Billion in operating expenditure to reduce the number of outages.
The executive mayor Mpho Palatse is taking a very hands-on approach to this project. Ultimately, the City of Johannesburg is the country’s economic hub and, by extension, the continent. The collapse of the distribution network could lead to the failure of South Africa and Africa’s economy, so this is a vital embarkment.
Mabine says, “We are confident that we will be able to fulfil this from the next 18 to 36 months.”
Regarding the approval from the National Treasury, Mabine said there is no resistance from the national treasury. The city of Cape Town has done this, including other Western Cape municipalities and Ekurhuleni already working on this.
Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.