The Democratic Alliance (DA) has criticised Deputy President David Mabuza for saying the Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects make no difference to South Africa’s electricity supply.
In a statement on Tuesday, DA MP Kevin Mileham said Mabuza’s comments reveal his “woeful ignorance” of the IPPs’ role in shoring up the “failure of Eskom.”
Mabuza made the comments during his question-and-answer session in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday.
’64 IPPs produce 3,976MW’
He said, “IPPs are individuals that are supplying 5MW, two there, 10 there; not significant. There is not even a single independent producer that is producing 500MW.
“All of them are less than 100MW; some are less than 50. Whether they are there or not, they don’t make any difference.”
However, Mileham said according to the March 2019 IPP Procurement Programme Quarterly Report, 64 IPP projects were supplying 3,976MW of electricity generation capacity to the national grid. This is the equivalent of avoiding four stages of load shedding, he added.
“The same report goes on to point out that installed and operational capacity of the 64 IPPs is the equivalent of 83% of the capacity of the Medupi power station at full capacity,” Mileham said.
EFF’s Shivambu cheers Mabuza’s comments
He added that IPPs “are keeping the lights on” and are “the only hope in the short term of alleviating the burden on a dying Eskom.”
Mileham called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to “pull Mabuza into line, or get rid of him,” failing which he would be admitting that Mabuza is setting government policy.
In contrast to DA’s criticism, Mabuza’s comments drew approval from Floyd Shivambu, the Deputy President of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
He tweeted a video of Mabuza speaking in NCOP and wrote, “Here the Deputy President is giving a sober and un-embedded perspective on Independent Power Producers, which are at the centre of Eskom’s crisis.”
Shivambu echoed EFF leader Julius Malema’s recent comment in Parliament that Mabuza should be considered as an alternative to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He wrote, “The CiC’s view [is] that [Mabuza] must be looked at and considered patiently, because in all honesty, the incumbent is embedded and failing.”