South Africa will resolve its electricity challenges, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Much as we are still dealing with the challenges of load shedding with Eskom, if we look through the tunnel, we see the light. We are going to resolve our energy challenges,” said President Ramaphosa.
The President said this following his walkabout at the Redstone Solar Plant in Postmasburg in the Northern Cape on Thursday.
The 100 MW Redstone Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower project forms part of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).
The country is currently experiencing bouts of load shedding.
The REIPPP aims to bring additional megawatts onto the country’s electricity system through private sector investment in wind, biomass and small hydro, among others.
At a national level, the REIPPP comprises 92 projects across the country, with a collective generation capacity of 6 296 MW, to which the Northern Cape contributes 3 563 MW, with 3 249 MW already operational.
The Redstone CSP plant makes up 100 MW of the remaining 314 MW that is under construction.
Addressing media, President Ramaphosa thanked the Saudi Arabian government for funding the project.
According to President Ramaphosa, more than R12 billion was injected into the project by the Saudi Arabian government. This contribution further cements relations between the two countries, with President Ramaphosa having recently returned from an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
During last week’s visit, the two countries signed 17 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in various fields such as agriculture, fisheries, mining, renewable energy, security, transport and aquaculture.
Other MOUs signed are on the establishment of a Joint Business Council, cooperation in the field of military industries and procurements and on geological survey cooperation.
“For all of us, this is great day because we are no longer just turning the sod. We are actually seeing the real infrastructure build,” President Ramaphosa said, adding that the project will attract investment to the country.
The President said it is good to see the skills transfer between the different partners, given the unemployment challenges the country faces.
The Redstone CSP Plant project has to date created 972 jobs, with 1 500 jobs expected at project peak. About 100 permanent jobs will be created during the operations and maintenance phase.
President Ramaphosa also appreciated ACWA Power for granting young people bursaries.
ACWA Power is a leading Saudi developer, investor and operator of power generation and water desalination plants in 13 countries.
The plant was presented at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSA) in 2020 and forms part of the gazetted Strategic Integrated Project (SIP 8). It deals with the escalation of regulatory approvals and the unblocking of development challenges, in line with the Infrastructure Development Act 23 of 2014.
The visit to the plant came ahead of the Presidential Imbizo taking place at Mxolisi Dicky Jacobs Stadium in Upington on Friday.
The fifth Presidential Imbizo will take place under the theme, ‘Leave No One Behind’ and will enable community members and stakeholder groups to interact with the President and leaders from all three spheres of government.
The community engagement will enable community members to voice questions and proposals on how service delivery can be improved to better meet their needs.
The imbizo will help to identify issues in the ZF Mgcawu District, which may hamper service delivery and economic opportunities.
This consultative forum will also showcase successful projects and allow government leaders to share information with residents.