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South Africa Reiterates Bet on Coal and Turkish Emergency Power

South Africa Reiterates Bet on Coal and Turkish Emergency Power

South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, today reiterated Pretoria’s commitment to the “longevity” of coal and the purchase of Turkish emergency power to address the electricity crisis.

“Coal will be with us for many years to come,” he predicted at the opening of an international energy conference in Cape Town.

a d v e r t i s e m e n t

Mantashe argued that the resolution of the current electricity crisis in the country involves “improving the power availability factor of the power plants”, advocating the “acceleration of the acquisition of emergency power”.

“Many of the people who are protesting think that we should not extract minerals because we are altering the environment. But these minerals are important to transition from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions,” he said.

Mantashe was referring to a group of Greenpeace Africa activists who, according to local press reports, tried to prevent the South African minister from speaking at the energy conference.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a new post in the presidency, that of electricity minister, to address the power shortage that is strangling the continent’s most developed economy.

The South African head of state appointed Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to fill the new ministerial post, the first of its kind in democratic South Africa after the fall of the ‘apartheid’ racial segregation regime in 1994, as part of a government reshuffle announced to the country on South African television.

On the appointment of the Minister of Electricity, with whom he will share part of his portfolio, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, later considered, in statements to the press, that the newly appointed minister is “capable” of the task to address the crisis of electricity cuts in South Africa.

Mantashe believes the new minister will focus his approach on improving the “low power availability factor of Eskom’s power plants”, adding that “the new minister’s focus will also be on emergency power purchases”.

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“This means not ruling out the use of the Karpowership vessels that have come under criticism in South Africa,” Mantashe said.

Turkish company Karpowership has submitted the South African government’s preferred bid for a 20-year public contract in the region of 200 billion rand (€10.3 billion), according to South African media reports, with controversial licensing pending after the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment rejected an initial environmental permit.

Mantashe said that regarding the cost of the electricity cuts, “the two are hardly comparable”.

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