Deputy President to Convene Summit On Eskom

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will soon convene a summit to discuss solutions to the current electricity challenges facing the country.

Responding to questions for oral reply at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, the Deputy President said Eskom has also deployed its most senior managers to power stations to ensure that plants are managed effectively to avert failure of power plants.

The President said the decision to hold the summit emanated from his meeting with the business sector last week Friday.

“When we met, we were able to hear their [business sector] proposals.

“One of the things that came out of that is that I am going to convene a summit with all the stakeholders and that summit will come up with a number of proposals to deal with the problems facing Eskom,” he said.

The Deputy President said the summit, which will involve business, labour and other affected stakeholders, will discuss the current electricity challenges faced by the country with the aim of coming up with proposals to further assist in addressing the problems.

After a Cabinet meeting in December last year, government established an energy war room to urgently attend to Eskom’s short- and long-term energy challenges at a time when the country was faced with load shedding.

During his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma announced a five-point plan that would assist the power utility to deal with the energy challenges.

The Deputy President said progress has been made in implementing the five-point plan.

“Progress is being made with all elements of the five-point plan to address the electricity challenge that our country faces at the moment.

“Eskom has taken steps to improve the maintenance and operation of our power stations… including the deployment of senior managers to our power stations.

“It was the process of the war room that a decision was taken that senior managers should be deployed to power stations and that they should not only be at air-conditioned offices in Megawatt Park,” he said.

He also said over and above the announcement by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on the successful synchronisation of the Medupi power plant onto the grid, government was also in the process of renewing several cogeneration contracts with the private sector.

This, he said, showed that Eskom was serious about dealing with the electricity problems in the short-term.

Government appoints Ginwala, Bizos to promote social cohesion

The Deputy President also announced that former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala and human rights lawyer George Bizos were among some of several prominent persons appointed by the Department of Arts and Culture to hold dialogues with communities and affected stakeholders on social cohesion.

He said this was also going to deal with recent attacks levelled against shops belonging to foreign nationals.

“The Department of Arts and Culture has appointed a number of eminent individuals as aocates for social cohesion.

“They have had a number of dialogues with the youth on social cohesion and nation building across the length and the breadth of our country,” he said.

The Deputy President said through the dialogue sessions, eminent persons shared their historic experiences and discuss ways towards forging a common identity in a free and democratic society.

Stopping violence against foreign nationals cannot be a task of government alone but a collective effort by all South Africans, the Deputy President said.

He said government remained concerned about attacks on foreign nationals and that those found to be behind the criminal acts would face the full might of the law.


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