Debate on the impact of failing Electricity and Water supply on Gauteng citizens

Speech by Hon. B.W. Dhlamini
IFP Gauteng MPL
Friday, 18 June 2021

Honourable Deputy Chair of Chairs

Members of the Gauteng Executive Council

Honourable Members

The Citizens of Gauteng

Deputy Chair of Chairs, the National Development Plan, which is the blueprint of government’s planning, highlighted long ago that the lack of coordinated and integrated planning for the energy sector was to blame for the underinvestment in energy infrastructure. Despite this knowledge, the ruling government proceeded not to invest in boosting our energy capacities. Billions in taxpayers’ money have been spent to bail out Eskom and consecutive increases in electricity prices have yielded no good result. Instead, the national power supplier has admitted to the public that electricity blackouts will be part of our new normal, for at least the next 5 years. This is due to frequent downtime experienced at the ageing fleet of coal power plants and the inability to add new power plants.

Deputy Chair of Chairs, there are many woeful accounts of the impact of load shedding in the lives of ordinary citizens. For instance, two weeks ago, the Citizen newspaper ran a story of a Soweto mother, Ms Tholoana Sewpal, whose son’s life is at risk because the load shedding stops the functioning of a nebulizer which assists her son to inhale his asthmatic medication.

Businesses, especially those small and medium-sized operators which are still trying to get back on their feet after the slump of COVID-19 shutdowns, are also feeling the brunt of the erratic electricity supply interruptions which threaten their existence. The insecurity of electricity supply brings with it an increased uncertainty of attracting investments and the ability to create jobs in our economy. Load shedding places us at the risk of reversing the momentum of economic growth that we are beginning to see in our economy.

Electricity and water are the lifeblood of our economy and without them not much can be done. It is with this in mind that the IFP supports the motion. We urge that the MEC for CoGTA, Hon. Lebogang Maile considers the proposals to ensure better electricity and water supply, and the request to have all of Gauteng’s substations, electrical water reservoirs and water towers declared as national key points. This will ensure better autonomy and planning for efficient electricity supply in our province.

Thank you very much.

Bonginkosi Dhlamini, MPL
Provincial Chairperson of the IFP Gauteng
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