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South Africa: Ramaphosa overrules Mantashe, allows private firms to generate power

By Anna Maree

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Posted on June 15, 2021 08:49

Swearing-in ceremony of South Africa’s new cabinet ministers
Gwede Mantashe in Pretoria, South Africa, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has publicly overruled his key ally, Gwede Mantashe, minister for mineral resources and energy, by announcing that private companies will be able to generate their own power up to 100 MW without a licence. Its a bold move that comes with political risk.

It’s a cap ten times higher than Mantashe was comfortable with.

But big businesses have welcomed Ramaphosa’s move as bold, but a lack of wide consultation means he took a political gamble with such a decision.

The odds are, however, in the president’s favour. His announcement came at the end of a particularly trying and wintry week, during which the country experienced a fresh and intensive bout of rolling electricity cuts.

The blackouts are due to an energy supply crisis at electricity utility Eskom, and they first started in 2007 after years of insufficient maintenance and mismanagement by the governing African National Congress (ANC). Large-scale looting at the state-owned entity in recent years further worsened the situation.

Complying with regulations

Private companies, like mines, will now be able to generate their own power, and their productivity will no longer be subject to

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