The DA in Mpumalanga calls on Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane to live up to her 2019 State of the Province Address (SOPA) concerning alternative sources of energy.
In 2019, Mtsweni- Tsipane promised to facilitate the investment in alternative sources of energy and reduce our dependence on Eskom amidst the rolling blackouts of that time.
In a province that was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which shed 134 000 jobs as a result of it, this provincial government must do everything in its power to mitigate job losses associated with the current electricity crisis.
The current electricity crisis across the country is taking its toll on many towns in Mpumalanga, as many are left without power for more than 12 hours at a time due to additional load reduction.
Interesting to note is the fact that as a response to the current electricity crisis, our provincial government has turned to green energy. However, taking a look at the recently decommissioned Komati power station, how will this transition benefit the residents and businesses in the province when the power output is expected to decrease significantly from 1000MW to 220MW.
Without a stable power supply many businesses are forced to close their doors. The DA finds it concerning to note that although we have made some strides towards creating employment in the previous quarter, this has been negated by the current load shedding as businesses fight daily to continue their operations in times of load shedding.
Alluding to the impact of the current load shedding, the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the fourth quarter painted a rather grim outlook as the province shed 13 000 jobs between the third and fourth quarter. Over the same period:
- The expanded unemployment grew from 46.5% to 48.2%; and
- Mpumalanga also recorded the highest increase in the official unemployment rate countrywide. Increased by 1% to 36.1%.
The DA calls on Premier Mtsweni- Tsipane to stick to her 2019 promise and urgently facilitate the investment in alternative sources of energy to reduce dependence on Eskom and prevent further job losses.