Embarrassment as govt gazettes wrong version of Integrated Resource Plan

Image credit: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

The Department of Energy has said it published the wrong version of the much-anticipated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in the Government Gazette on Friday morning.

Jacob Mbele, a senior official from the department, said on Friday afternoon that the published version was not the one approved by Cabinet, which had made some changes.

He blamed it on an administrative error, adding that the correct version will be gazetted “shortly” and that it was already on the department’s website.

Contradiction on nuclear energy

The IRP is government’s long term energy plan for South Africa. The latest plan outlines its policies from 2019 to 2030.

According to Business Day, the error emerged after analysts picked up an apparent contradiction with regard to nuclear energy policy.

In one clause, the plan indicated that there will be no procurement of new nuclear energy over its period.

However, another clause cited risks emanating from the Inga hydroelectric power project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where South Africa reportedly invested R200 billion.

The plan therefore said government would “immediately commence the nuclear build programme to the extent of 2,500MW… in case the Inga hydropower project does not materialise.”

The Cabinet-approved plan had different wording, which stated that government will “commence preparations for a nuclear build programme to the extent of 2,500MW at a pace and scale that the country can afford because it is a no-regret option in the long term.”

Social media reaction

Commenters on social media viewed the bungle as embarrassing. Energy expert Chris Yelland tweeted, “Can you believe it! What an almighty stuff up!”

Twitter user @justcausecian6 added, “Someone is going to get fired like those that sabotaged Cyril’s speech by airing the wrong version… Incompetence is our national sport! And we are so good at it it is scary.”

“So no doubt there will be a resignation for simply being just not up to the job. Come on @CyrilRamaphosa show that you value performance over cadre deployment that consequence management exists,” Tim Loughton wrote.

@ZandiSeal said, “When old people are given responsibilities meant for young and agile citizens.”

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