Deputy President David Mabuza says government is taking every step to make sure that Eskom is supported in its bid to stabilise the national grid and ensure energy security.
The Deputy President was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday afternoon.
The Deputy President is the Chairperson of the Political Task Team on Eskom which was established to bring government’s key players together in order to provide political leadership in the resolution of the problems besetting the power producer.
The Deputy President said the task team has achieved several milestones since it was established including:
Enabling and fostering greater coordination between Eskom and various government departments
Ensuring that the power producer has a credible and transparent maintenance programme
Fast tracking procurement of additional energy
Addressing Eskom’s financial troubles
Fast tracking ministerial determinations on bid window five
“The political task team was also seized with expanding the correction of plant defects at Medupi and Kusile power stations in order to ensure that the grid has an additional 1000MW of base load capacity to address the load shedding problem,” he said.
The Deputy President acknowledged that even though strides have been taken to assist Eskom in keeping the lights on, some challenges remain.
“In the main, challenges [are] set around the limitation of the aging fleet [and] inability to keep up with the demands of unplanned maintenance and repairs. Inevitably, inadequate energy capacity [has] resulted in declined energy availability.
“This led to the sustained power outages in the month of July, thereby attracting public backlash and that prompted the urgent dedicated Cabinet discussion on further extraordinary measures to immediately bring to a halt what was becoming a perennial national electricity supply challenge,” Deputy President Mabuza said.
Subsequent to that meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a National Energy Action Plan aimed at achieving energy security.
The action plan includes the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), which includes various departments.
Deputy President Mabuza said now the work of the Political Task Team on Eskom has been transitioned and will be covered by NECOM.
“The immediate priority of [NECOM] is to unlock policy and implementation blockages, streamline decision making processes and eliminating any red tape issues,” he said.