10/23/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/22/2020 01:11
Address by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Mr Samson Gwede Mantashe (MP) to the joint sitting of Parliament on the debate to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, 21 October 2020, National Assembly
Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr Amos Masondo His Excellencies, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa
and the Deputy President David Mabuza Honourable Members
Ladies and Gentlemen
From the onset of confronting the Covid-19 pandemic, our rallying cry was: Saving our lives, Saving our livelihoods.
Our countrymen and women in the health sector steered us through the storm in their sterling effort of saving our lives.
When the pandemic descended, and our country went into lockdown to halt its spread, our economy was already in recession. Subsequent downgrades by Rating agencies sunk the economy further. Then the pandemic sounded a death knell in a climate beleaguered by inhibiting high cost of electricity. Therefore, the reliance of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan on our ability to secure a reliable and affordable supply of energy. Our Plan must, however, transcend the pre- Covid-19 level to grow the economy on par with our country's development.
Expanding the country's energy generation capacity is a priority intervention to support a rapid economic rebound. This is central to us saving our livelihoods.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has heeded the call of the President by fully implementing the Integrated Resource Plan, IRP 2019.
The Department targets to deliver a total of sixteen thousand three hundred and thirteen megawatts (16 313 MW), from a mix of energy sources. This includes:
Immediately, the Department has enabled ninety-seven megawatts (97 MW) of self- generation for own use,
Further, we have Gazetted amendments to Electricity Regulations on new generation capacity to enable municipalities in good financial standing to develop their own power generation projects. The amendments clarify the regime applicable to municipalities when requesting Determinations under Section 34 of the Electricity Amendment Act.
Recognising Eskom's role in the electricity sector Government is working tireless to achieve significant systems improvement through the Eskom maintenance programme. Work is underway to achieve operational and financial stability at the entity. The process to separate and unbundle Eskom is progressing well in line with the Roadmap. These initiatives will complement efforts to secure energy supply for society.
Looking ahead, we have considered the feasibility of natural gas for economic use in the South African market, which includes accelerating the exploration of our own natural gas for domestic gas feedstock. Investment in infrastructure to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is critical. Therefore, the tabling of the Gas Amendment Bill before this House, when it happens, should be considered against this backdrop.
Pre-Covid-19, the Department was in the process of consulting stakeholders on the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill. Community consultations were, however, foiled by the lockdown restrictions. Relaxation of restrictions on gatherings enables the Department to restart consultations. Finalisation of the Bill will unlock our country's untapped potential in the upstream oil and gas reserves.
As directed by the President, the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, should fast-track reforms to reduce the cost of doing business in our country. This is to facilitate investment, achieve economic growth and transformation.
Government is focused to renew investment in exploration, which is the lifeblood of mining. This will further promote the diversification of the economy. The mining sector is actively engaged to facilitate renewed investment through a policy framework that provides certainty, investment protection and transformation. We are also giving effect to our commitment to reduce timeframes for mining and prospecting licences. Formalising artisanal mining is being accelerated, thereby creating an avenue to mine sterilised deposits.
Saving our lives Saving our livelihoods is a social compact between government, the social actors and society, which is core to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. This is reminiscent of our country's ability to overcome the worst, do the unimaginable when we hold hands and act together.
I thank you