Mantashe admits government failures on electricity

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has conceded that government failed to build extra capacity.

Eskom sprung a surprise return to rolling blackouts this week, blaming a problem with its generating units.

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Mantashe has reiterated that government was warned about the problem in the late 1990s but it didn't act.

“We have 16 power coal stations, therefore we are not going to switch them all off. Three (Hendrina Power Station, Komati Power Station and Grootvlei Power Station) are on the line now,” Mantashe said.

“We have sent a message to government, you build programs of the various other options must start now, we must not wait for the end of the life of coal power stations.

“We must extend the life of Koeberg Nuclear Power Station by 20-years but we must begin to build additional nuclear capacity now.

“A mistake we committed as government is that when we were warned in the late 1990s is that when surplus energy will end in 2007, begin building additional capacity now and we delayed, hence problems in Medupi and Kusile Power Station.”