Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally acted on the power struggles that have dominated the ascendency of Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho “Sputla” Ramokgopa.
On Friday, Ramaphosa stripped Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe of some of his powers and bestowed them on Ramokgopa.
Ramaphosa’s move ends months of confusion about the scope of the powers of the new minister, who spent the first weeks of his tenure visiting power stations across the country.
“After due consideration, President Ramaphosa has transferred to the minister of electricity all powers and functions contained in Section 34(1) of the Electricity Regulation Act which were previously entrusted to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy,” presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said in a statement.
Magwenya said the president has also transferred to the Minister of Electricity the relevant powers and functions set out in Section 34(2) of the Electricity Regulation Act.
He said this would allow Ramokgopa more freedom to help return Eskom to its former glory, including the ability to consult with the regulator on how best to determine new generation capacity, among other things.
“The minister may, in consultation with the regulator, determine that new generation capacity is needed to ensure the continued uninterrupted supply of electricity, determine the types of energy sources from which electricity must be generated, and determine the percentages of electricity that must be generated from such sources,” Ramaphosa said.
Magwenya said this proclamation would provide the Ramokgopa with the powers necessary to direct the procurement of new generation capacity and ensure security of supply.
He said other powers and functions contained in the Electricity Regulation Act, including those related to the implementation of determinations made in terms of Section 34, would remain with Mantashe.
Magwenya added that Ramokgopa would be empowered to oversee all aspects of the electricity crisis response, including the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee.
“This will provide a single point of command for the government’s efforts to close the shortfall in electricity supply. The minister will work full-time with the Eskom board and management to end load shedding and ensure that the Energy Action Plan announced by the President is implemented without delay,” he said.