“In a few weeks, we will appoint six developers who will commence the construction of an 800-megawatt solar farm in Merafong. This will be followed by the installation of rooftop solar panels in government buildings especially hospitals, clinics and schools,” Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said on Monday, 20 February, in Johannesburg.
Delivering his State of the Province Address in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, he said the electricity deficit is focused at 4058 mega volt-ampermps (MVA) in 2025.
“This is slightly high given Eskom's inability to generate more from its current fleet. As Gauteng, we have been working on finding solutions to the energy crisis. We have established an energy crisis response team that engages with the National Energy Committee and working with local government and energy experts,” Lesufi said.
Eskom has been battling to keep the lights on for the past few months, leading to increased stages of load shedding and a devastating impact on lives, livelihoods and businesses.
“We will engage with Johannesburg Municipality’s City Power as well as Tshwane’s Rooiwal facility with an intention of supporting them to expand and generate more power. We will meet with owners of Kelvin Power Station to establish how we can partner with them to limit load shedding in Gauteng. From next week, we will advertise a call for proposals for alternative suppliers of energy that can contribute to a solution of the energy crisis and the reindustrialisation of Gauteng,” he said.
The premier welcomed the declaration of a National State of Disaster, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) earlier this month.
The president explained that the declaration will enable government to “provide practical measures” to assist businesses that have been devastated by the effects of load shedding.
Where technically possible, it will also enable government to exempt critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment plants from load shedding.
It will enable government to accelerate energy projects and limit regulatory requirements while maintaining rigorous environmental protection as well as procurement principles and technical standards.
With the country experiencing natural disasters, the Premier said the provincial government is ready to deal with them.
“For the reasons above, we are establishing a combat ready Disaster Management Centre with state-of-the-art disaster management equipment. It will also house helicopters, drones, and highly skilled personnel that can respond within the shortest possible time.
“Areas prone to disasters such as Jukskei River in Alexandra Township will receive additional support to relocate within the shortest possible time when the disaster centre is in full force,” he said.
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