Mossgas Mossel Bay

Image via Pixabay

Iconic Mossgas to close down next year, 1 500 job losses in Mossel Bay

The ‘flame of the Garden Route’ will be extinguished in 2020.

Mossgas Mossel Bay

Image via Pixabay

The Mossgas project in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route is to close down at the end of next year, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in Parliament on Thursday.

He was answering oral questions in the National Council of Provinces when DA MP Jaco Londt asked him about government actions to stave off the subsequent loss of 1 500 jobs in the Mossel Bay area if the closure of the project goes ahead as planned.

Why is Mossgas closing down?

Ramaphosa said the sad truth is that the gas source has almost been exhausted and that the Mossgas facility could only remain in use if a new gas source could be found. He also said Government was very much aware of the economic hardship the probable job losses would have on the Southern Cape economy and that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was looking into ways of alleviating the consequences.

DA MP Willie Aucamp continued his efforts to have the Northern Cape drought declared a disaster so that farmers and farm workers can benefit from drought relief measures. Aucamp said 62 000 jobs could be lost and a million heads of cattle could die by the end of the year if government did not act.

“Mr President, the farmers of the Northern Cape need your help today,” Aucamp pleaded.

Attention turns to the drought-stricken Northern Cape

Ramaphosa confirmed that Government was aware of the Northern Cape’s plight – more so after Deputy President David Mabuza’s recent visit to the province. He said the state would do what it could within current economic and fiscal realities.

ANC MP Seeiso Mohai quizzed Ramaphosa on the impact of trade wars on South Africa, and the President agreed that US tariffs on steel and aluminium were especially detrimental to South African exports, but that Government’s negotiation efforts bore fruit, as the waiver of tariffs on 36 steel-related and 161 aluminium-related export items showed,

Ramaphosa said South Africa had to focus more on exports to the rest of the African continent and that the country’s trade relations with Britain – currently its fourth largest trading partner – was secure in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Ramaphosa took great umbrage when DA MP Dennis Ryder put it to him that he was in charge of the Eskom war room during the Zuma period of state capture.

“You are hallucinating. So now I was a state capturer!” Ramaphosa answered bluntly. He went on to sat Government will produce a special policy paper on Eskom before the end of the month, that a new Eskom CEO would be appointed soon and that the state does not plan to sell any of its newer power stations, just those old ones which have been decommissioned.