Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Alliance’

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Budget: Lots of money for Electricity Generation

21 February 2008

It’s not often that Finance Minister Trevor Manuel gives more than the DA asks; but, as far as the energy crisis is concerned, he did just that – in certain respects, at least – on Wednesday.

In the DA’s 2008 Alternative Budget, entitled “Powering Growth, Opportunity and Democracy“, we allocated R50 billion to help finance Eskom’s power generation expansion and R1.2 to diversifying power generation and reducing demand on the grid.

In his speech in the National Assembly, Manuel announced that R60 billion will go to Eskom’s investment programme and an additional R2 billion would be allocated to promote more efficient power usage.

Where he fell short, however, (and perhaps how he could budget R10.8 billion more than the DA to those two things) was in not doing enough to stimulate growth and job-creation in the face of the draining effects of the electricity crisis. The DA’s budget included a R14.5 billion stimulatory package to assist the economy and encourage foreign direct investment.

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Helen Zille responds to an open letter on the energy crisis

7 February 2008

Helen Zille

Paul Jacobson wrote an open letter to DA Leader Helen Zille about the energy crisis on Wired Gecko last Friday. While he has had feedback from her office on the matter already, we thought Shedding Light would be the ideal platform from which to respond publicly.


Dear Paul

Thank you for the constructive suggestions towards solving the energy crisis. At this time, public discussion and creative solutions are much needed and appreciated.

Rest assured, the Democratic Alliance is doing all that is possible to provide solutions to alleviate the burden imposed on all South Africans by the crisis. To this end, we have presented to government a comprehensive plan that proposes short, medium and long term solutions, centred on three key areas: diversifying South Africa’s energy resources, reducing consumption and improving Eskom’s performance. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Government had plenty of warning on Electricity Capacity

4 February 2008

You’ve probably read about the Energy White Paper published in 1998 that predicted that demand for electricity would exceed Eskom’s generated supply in 2006/7 if measures were not taken to increase capacity (e.g. here, here, here and here).

But the warnings didn’t stop there. Besides raising this issue repeatedly in the National Assembly’s Minerals & Energy Portfolio Committee in Parliament between 1999 and 2004, the Democratic Alliance, for one, also highlighted it during the plenary debates on the Minerals & Energy Budget Vote in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The DA has justifiably grilled the government for ignoring these warnings in the last couple of weeks, and called for ministers and officials to be held accountable for their poor planning. But we’ve also proposed some immediate and medium-term solutions that go beyond the government’s own rescue plan to restore reliable electricity capacity.

There’s definitely a lack of faith in Eskom’s – and, by extention, the government’s – ability to rectify the problem. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them to address the crisis, as well as public perceptions of their handling of the situation.