Energize Mantashe's budget criticised for being "anti poor"
- Advertisment -

Mantashe’s budget criticised for being “anti poor”

- Advertisment -

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has been criticised for its plan to cut spending that was supposed to electrify 43 000 homes, most of them in impoverished rural areas. The cut will release R1,5-billion to be spent on Covid-19-related relief instead.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe

But the DMRE plans to leave untouched the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (NECSA) R1-billion budget and the Council for Geoscience’s roughly R0,5-billion budget, including for mine exploration. These priorities have been criticised by civil society groups which say this “deepens inequity, further impoverishing the poor” while bailing out a state-owned nuclear company with an “appalling” financial record.

In a letter to the appropriations committee last week, Energy Governance South Africa (EGSA) said it supported non-profit group OUTA’s submission, saying, “To continue to reward NECSA for its financial mismanagement and irregular expenditure is to send a signal to those corrupt and malleable officials that they can continue with business as usual. Electrification is pro-poor service delivery of particular relevance during the Covid-19 pandemic, where vulnerable communities are feeling the brunt of the disease.”

EGSA describes itself as “a network of over 110 concerned individuals and organisations dedicated to promoting good governance in the energy sector”.

A recent study by authors including nobel winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, British economist Nicholas Stern underscores the importance of rural economic development for sustainable Covid-19 recovery in low- and middle-income countries.

EGSA says the way in which the budget changes affect those least able to bear it needs to be rectified.

When DMRE presented its proposal to parliament’s minerals and energy portfolio committee earlier this month, the department said: “The reduction will delay the implementation of planned bulk infrastructure projects, which are critical for laying the foundation for household connections, as well as reduce the targeted electricity connections. It is projected that the 2020/21 household connections target of 180 000, will decrease by 43 000 to 137 000 connections. The reduction will also have a significant negative impact on the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal as these provinces have the largest electricity backlogs.”

National Treasury had not provided any guarantee that reduced budgets would be reinstated later, according to DMRE.

The electrification programmes were significant line items in the department’s budget alongside budgets for NECSA and the Council for Geosciences. But the department said NECSA and the council “could not be touched. NECSA already had a cash deficit, so its budget could not be reduced any further.”

According to a summary of a subsequent minerals and energy committee meeting: “The Committee noted that this was too important of a project to decrease its budget and recommended that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy should engage on this. It was noted the Programme was one of the largest service delivery areas of the Department for the electrification of the country.”

But in his budget vote speech this week, mining and energy minister Gwede Mantashe reaffirmed the cuts to rural household electrification and the combined R1,5-billion allocated to NECSA and the Council for Geosciences. He said the electrification cuts would be “on projects that are amongst others not ready for delivery and can be moved to later years”.

Send your comments to rogerl@nowmedia.co.za



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles

Independent transmission system “essential” to end load shedding

by Roger Lilley, Now Media  -   To overcome the scourge of load shedding, two components are urgently needed: more generating capacity and an improved and...

Drivers improving the business case for solar power

Information from IM Power  -   Covid-19 has presented businesses with the opportunity to re-evaluate both their operational models and costs. Proactive organisations found themselves navigating...

Temperature monitor and controller saves municipality money

Instrotech recently supplied its DPM4003 and DPM3001M (low- and high-alarm relay output) temperature indicators to Levivi22 Engineering and Projects, the company contracted by Tshwane...

Undertaking wall thickness testing at Tutuka

During the lockdown in June, rope-access specialist Skyriders undertook an inspection of pulverised fuel (PF) piping at Tutuka power station near Standerton in Mpumalanga...

Rentable solar power now available

Aggreko, a leading provider of mobile, modular power, temperature control and energy services, today announces the immediate availability of its solar power rental offer....

EU solar power association signs cooperation agreement with SAPVIA

SolarPower Europe and the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation and explore new business...

First BW4 wind farm celebrates commencement of commercial operations

South Africa’s first bid window four (BW4) wind farm, part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), has announced its Commercial...

Maintaining backup battery systems for maximum usage and reliability

Information from Fluke  -   Most backup power systems use an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and a string of batteries. The UPS backs up the digital...

Renewable energy company offers bursaries for tertiary education

Globeleq, a leading independent power producer operating in Africa, is offering bursaries for tertiary education. The Globeleq Scholarship Fund aims to develop skills needed...

SA’s Risk Mitigation tender and what it means for energy storage, renewables and gas

by Andy Colthorpe, Energy-Storage news  -   South Africa’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy is conducting a fairly unique procurement programme for 2 GW of...

Eskom acknowledges load shedding’s damage to the economy, promises improvement

Eskom's CEO, Andre de Ruyter, says the power utility understands that it has a critical role to play in enabling South Africa's economic recovery...

MEA Energy Week conference draws world-class lineup

Information from Siemens  -  Siemens Energy and partners are holding a major Middle East and Africa-focused virtual conference, entitled ‘Shaping the Energy of Tomorrow’, from...

How to classify outdoor circuit breakers

Information from Noja Power  -   Electrical engineering switchgear classification is a challenging topic. With the varied terminology for electrical equipment around the world, clarity on...

What’s on the energy storage market besides Li-ion batteries?

Information from IDTechEx  -   While Li-ion batteries are dominating the stationary energy storage sector, a growing number of companies are developing different technologies to be...

Electrical junction box offers ten entries

A rectangular-shaped junction box, which is both Ex e and IP68 certified, is now available from Pratley. Known as the Enviro Rectangular Junction Box,...
- Advertisement -