State of the Nation Ignores Electricity Crisis

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Feature story - February 14, 2013
Today South Africans are faces sharply increasing electricity prices and an impending water crisis -- something the president seems to have missed in his State of the Nation Address.

The South African government's estimated R47 billion investment in renewable energy projects is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

But while this amount sounds substantial, it is entirely insignificant when compared to the well-over R200 billion being spent on new coal-fired power stations -- or the estimated R1 trillion for the planned nuclear programme.

The reality is that investments in coal and nuclear take this country two steps backwards, preventing growth in the renewable energy sector, significant job creation, and water security.

We belive that if the government was serious about creating a sustainable future based on job creation and energy security, many more ambitious investments in labour-intensive renewable energy would be made. Doing so would create a win-win-win for jobs, economic growth, and access to affordable, safe electricity for all.