Western Cape Cabinet resolves to set up task team to help mitigate impact of load shedding
Premier Alan Winde and his Cabinet concluded a two-day Bosberaad in the Karoo town of Prince Albert this week. It was preceded by a Cabinet Outreach, which afforded the provincial Cabinet an opportunity to bring government closer to the people to listen to their ideas and concerns.
“It was a pleasure to return to Prince Albert to join Mayor Linda Jaquet and her team in meeting with community members,” remarked the Premier.
The Bosberaad gave the Western Cape Government (WCG) an opportunity to reflect on the work it has done since the last Cabinet gathering earlier in the year, and to revisit its priorities as we prepare to enter a new year. The Cabinet reviewed:
the performance of provincial government departments, focusing on the priority objectives of safety, job creation and well-being, and
assessed progress with regards to delivering critical infrastructure across the province.
During deliberations, the power crisis and the WCG’s focus on further enabling energy resilience in the province emerged as key issues which need to remain front and centre in 2023.
The country will face another difficult year in 2023 on the energy front. Premier Winde said, “Eskom has been upfront about this. Load shedding will likely worsen as they seek to improve the reliability of our energy infrastructure through their proposed maintenance plan. There will be more pressure on the power grid along with the possibility of unplanned breakdowns of generation units. We will do everything we can to ameliorate this in 2023.”
A recent study by Cape Town-based research firm, Yazi, confirmed the far-reaching and devastating impact of load shedding on ordinary South Africans trying to eke out a living in the so-called informal economy. Over 40% of respondents said that their loss of income due to power cuts ranged between R1000 and R5000 per month. “In light of such findings, there is clearly added urgency required to find short-term and long-term solutions to protect our developing businesses,” warned the Premier.
The WCG has spent a significant amount of time across its departments working to mitigate load shedding. “Work is under way to support businesses, households and vulnerable groups in the face of increased load shedding. While we are continuously reviewing and updating our energy crisis contingency plan and boosting efforts to ameliorate the impact of mass power cuts, the provincial government will still support Eskom in any way it can,” added the Premier.
At the Boseraad a number of stakeholders from government, business and research organisations presented the constraints that the energy crisis was placing on their work and possible areas where support was needed. These included:
Looking at how the WCG can support households and businesses in introducing further energy efficiencies to reduce strain on the grid;
Reviewing how the provincial government can support new energy generation including:
exploring the development of possible frameworks and standards for energy wheeling agreements;
offering further support for Small-Scale Embedded Generation; and
supporting municipalities in engaging with Independent Power Producers.
Continuing to work with municipalities across the province to develop their own energy plans and improve their energy resilience. The progress that the municipalities of Cape Town, George and Stellenbosch have made was noted.
Preparing for possible increases in the severity of load shedding and the impact that this could have on critical infrastructure and services; and
Communicating with stakeholders across the province about the energy crisis.
Following the discussions at the Bosberaad, the provincial government has resolved to establish a Cabinet-level task team to look at what the WCG needs to do to further enable businesses, local government, civil society, and other partners to work closer with each other to protect the economy, jobs and the well-being of our citizens. The Premier will work closely with Cabinet to set up the task team.
Premier Winde concluded, “We will and must tackle this crisis in 2023 with the same urgency and zeal we demonstrated in our response to Covid-19 and Day Zero.”