Gauteng premier's ambitious energy plans met with skepticism

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi has a seemingly good plan on paper for dealing with the electricity crisis but the question now is how he’ll make it all happen.

JOHANNESBURG - R1.2-billion to dig Gauteng out of its deepening energy crisis; the construction of an 800-megawatt solar farm and the retrofitting of solar panels for hospitals, clinics and schools.

These are just some of the commitments to emerge from Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s maiden State of the Province the Address on Monday.

READ: Gauteng ready to buy energy from IPPs

A seemingly good plan – on paper. But the question now is how he’ll make it all happen.

Randburg resident Dave Winston said, "from my experience, in what’s been going on just in our street in Randburg, I have my doubts that these things are actually going to come to fruition.”

Cosatu Gauteng chair Amos Monyela said, "we don’t think this is enough, we still need more. You need an Eskom that is working so that is working so that this can work hand in hand with Eskom. You need more than the 800 megawatts that they want to put in”

Joburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Bernadette Zeiler said, "we require a larger amount, and also many businesses have had to close down due to the energy crisis, especially smaller businesses in the manufacturing sector as well, because they weren’t able to invest in alternative energy. We’re looking at a minimum of 4 to 5 billion rand to assist businesses.”

Monyela said, "I’m not too sure if we have resources. We’ve heard him saying R1.2 billion, we are thinking that he’s speaking from experience. He’s also looking for money for e-Tolls so we’ll see when the MEC of finance is presenting his budget if the money is there. Because there’s this tendency that the premier or president will announce, and then we get to Treasury, there’s no funding for these things.”

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