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Energy sector: why things are looking up

“Cabinet shuffle shows Ramaphosa’s commitment to ensuring reform”

The energy sector is a clear winner emerging from the South African cabinet shuffle earlier this week says the editor of the energy trade publication ESI Africa, Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl. She explains: “President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempt to sweep his inherited cabinet clean on Monday night resulted in a watered down compromise to satisfy both party and state interests. However, a clear winner emerging is the energy sector, which can look forward to two ‘new’ faces: Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, known for his deft ability at service delivery and turnaround of state departments, and long-standing cabinet member Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe, renowned for his firm leadership. These placements have shown Ramaphosa’s commitment to ensuring reform at state-owned enterprises and specifically Eskom.”

She continues: “assuredly, with these two gentlemen, along with Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s return to Cabinet as the minister of finance, we will see a finalisation of the nuclear build programme (either putting it to bed or giving it a nod) and a formal consultation on the long-overdue integrated resource plan. Another priority area that needs immediate attention is the independent power producers’ outstanding power purchase agreements.”

“The damage done to South Africa’s energy market is extensive; however, there is tangible hope in the air. With the likes of Gordhan, Radebe and Nene in the fold, this is a brilliant move by Ramaphosa – who had already shown his mettle at the WEF when commenting on South Africa’s nuclear position – and I’m optimistic that we will see progress at last.”

Radebe “to address the mess”
Independent energy expert Ted Blom agrees: “it is probably not by accident that President Ramaphosa has appointed one of the most senior ANC members to the portfolio of energy. This sector has been troubled by one scandal after the other, which included the missing billions at Eskom, Mosgas, and the Strategic Oil Fund. Add to this the near miss on the Russian nuclear order disaster.”

He adds: “depending on the chosen benchmark and whose numbers you trust, the missing billions amount to anything between R50bn and nearly R1.5 trillion, and the ANC can offer nobody with more gravitas than Jeff Radebe to address this mess, and hopefully claw back a fair proportion of the misappropriated funds. Not only has Radebe accumulated the most experience of all ANC stalwarts, he has also spent the most time in the presidency and probably overheard a lot of the wayward planning, making it easier for him to unravel  the birds nest of twisted facts.”

The energy industry will discuss these and other crucial, developing challenges in the sector in more depth at the upcoming African Utility Week conference and exhibition.

Award-winning energy platform
Ted Blom is a featured speaker at the 18th annual African Utility Week in Cape Town in May while ESI Africa is the premium media partner for the event, which will gather over 7000 decision makers from more than 80 countries to discuss the challenges, solutions and successes in the power, energy and water sectors on the continent. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions the event also boasts a seven track conference with over 300 expert speakers.

The conference programme will address the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors: ranging from generation, T&D, metering, technology and water.

The African Utility Week expo offers an extensive technical workshop programme that are CPD accredited, free to attend, hands-on presentations that take place in defined spaces on the exhibition floor. They discuss practical, day-to-day technical topics, best practices and product solutions that businesses, large power users and utilities can implement in their daily operations.

African Utility Week is the flagship energy event organised by the multi-award winning Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and part of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Other well-known energy events by Spintelligent are Future Energy Nigeria and Future Energy East Africa. More events include Agritech Expo Zambia, Property Buyer Show, DRC Mining Week, Eduweek, Farm-Tech Expo Kenya, Nigeria Mining Week and the Mining Baraza in Kenya.