27 Sep 2023 (Parliament of South Africa) The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill received mixed reactions from the residents of Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo today during the first public hearings on the Bill that were conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy.
Limpopo is the first of the nine provinces to get an opportunity to make inputs on the draft legislation which aims to effect changes on the Electricity Regulation Act in order to provide for additional electricity generation capacity and infrastructure, as well as the establishment of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd.
The draft legislation also seeks an open market platform that will allow for competitive electricity trading; and to assign the duties, powers and functions of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd to the National Transmission Company South Africa SOC Ltd.
During the public hearings at Malamulele Community Hall, in Malamulele, those who supported the Bill told the committee that it would be beneficial for South Africa to have more electricity companies and it will also help address the current electricity shortage. Others said they hoped the proposed amendments would bring to an end the challenges of load-shedding and also remove pressure from Eskom.
The Bill also received a backlash from those who argued that it was a move towards privatisation of the country's key economic assets, and that the Bill failed to address the cost of electricity to the poor.
Other submissions were critical of Parliament and National Treasury with claims how could the two institutions agree to a Bill that gives additional funding to Eskom with conditions that the funds cannot be used to build additional electricity capacity. Others said the public hearings were just a tick-box exercise.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, said the Bill was about a sensitive but also emotive matter, and hoped that the proposed amendments and the inputs from the public would help address the electricity challenges facing the country.
He also explained that though the matter of the unbundling of Eskom has been on the public domain for some time, the Bill only came to Parliament about a month ago and urged citizens to contribute to the discussion by commenting on the legislation.
Citizens who missed out on the opportunity to make oral submissions can send their written submissions to the committee: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow the committee will continue with public hearings in the Mopani District Municipality at Thomo Community Hall in Giyani, starting at 10H00.