19 June 2019, Johannesburg — It was widely anticipated that President Cyril Ramaphosa would announce further governmental support for ailing power utility, Eskom, at the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). In response to the announcement that the government will table a Special Appropriation Bill on an urgent basis to allocate a significant portion of the R230 billion fiscal support that Eskom will require over the next 10 years, Bukelwa Nzimande, Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, has said:

“Greenpeace Africa welcomes that the President has used SONA as a platform to recognise our opportunity to be at the forefront of green growth through increasing the contribution of renewable energy to our national energy mix. However, achieving this is heavily dependent on creating policy certainty through the finalisation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), and removing artificial limits to renewable energy. Neither the IRP nor timelines for its release were mentioned, which means that once again, the devil is in the details and we are all left wondering how anything the President has mentioned will actually be achieved.”

“SONA was a missed opportunity; the President downplayed solutions to the climate crisis, and stopped short of declaring a climate emergency, or indeed, any meaningful action aimed at avoiding catastrophic climate change. The truth is that the National Development Plan does not come close to anything resembling a plan to address the climate crisis, and instead promotes further extraction of coal. We look forward to the urgent and concrete steps that will be taken to ‘step up’ our mitigation efforts.

“With Eskom effectively bankrupt, Greenpeace Africa would caution that we simply cannot afford to keep throwing billions of rands that we don’t have at the problem. It is clear that the time has come to take critical decisions about Eskom’s future, but the truth is that with economic growth stalling, massively ballooning government debt to bail Eskom out yet again simply is not viable. Our recently released report ‘Eskom: a roadmap to powering the future’[1] clearly outlines feasible options for the utility’s future and we urge the Minister of Public Enterprises to implement key recommendations around Eskom.”

Notes to the editor:

  1. The report can be found here.

Media contact:

Chris Vlavianos, Communications Officer – Greenpeace Africa, chris.vlavianos@greenpeace.org, 079 883 7036