DA Gwede Mantashe energy

Image via: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

Mantashe suggesting a ‘new generation entity’ is lunacy, says DA

The DA claims Gwede Mantashe is floating a ‘trial balloon’ to centralise a new entity and all electricity production under his control.

DA Gwede Mantashe energy

Image via: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has in no uncertain terms, claimed that Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe is a lunatic for suggesting a new “electricity generation entity” outside of Eskom.  

According to the DA, Mantashe’s “bright idea” was made known at his post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) press briefing on Thursday 20 February.  

“Creating energy capacity is not an instant coffee, it’s a long-term plan,” said Mantashe. 

He also added that opening Bid Window 5 will not avoid load shedding.  

“Minister Mantashe first proposed this madcap idea at the Mining Indaba a few weeks ago. Today, he stated that the new power generation entity is a reality, and we will make it happen,” said DA shadow minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Kevin Mileham.  

‘Mantashe is trying to get all electricity production under his control’

Mileham said Mantashe is the only person who is suggesting such “lunacy”. 

“He did not mention it during the SONA debates, nor did President Cyril Ramaphosa. There is no mention of it in the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Annual Performance Plan, nor has it been discussed in any other forum to date,” argued Mileham. 

“It, therefore, appears that the Minister is floating a trial balloon to centralize this new entity (and indeed all electricity production) under his control,” he added. 

IPPs must compete on equal footing with Eskom 

Energy experts agree that any new generation capacity must, at least in the short to medium term, come from the private sector. 

The DA has proposed a private members bill to facilitate this — the Independent Electricity Management Operator Bill. The Bill is currently before the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy and would open up South Africa’s electricity supply sector and make it more competitive. 

“It would allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to compete on an equal footing with Eskom,” said Mileham. 

DA receives no support 

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has already indicated their lack of support for this initiative, although their objections, thus far are spurious and ill-informed. 

“A new generation entity is nothing more than a blatant power play by Minister Mantashe. Eskom is already more than R450 billion in debt, and spiraling closer to death every day that passes. South Africa cannot afford more government mismanagement, corruption and incompetence in the electricity sector. We must oppose this madness at every turn,” added Mileham.