Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Pic credit. BDLive
SAPS are looking at alternative ways of generating electricity, such as including solar perimeter lighting in all renewal and new generator and electrical maintenance contracts, stated police minister Nathi Nhleko. Pic credit: BDLive

On Tuesday the South African Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, stated that government is in the process of rolling out back-up generators to police stations across several provinces to avert disruptions during load shedding.

The Minister said this when responding to questions for written reply in Parliament over the impact of load shedding on the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) ability to service members of the public, SANews reported.

According to the Minister load shedding had an adverse effect on service delivery – from affecting the registration of case dockets to a huge security risk posed to detainees in holding cells.

Procurement process

Nhleko said: “The SAPS is in the process of putting out a tender for the procurement of mobile back-up generators to be distributed by the provinces as and where the need arises.

“The National Department of Public Works has been requested to register projects for the provisioning of back-up generators at the non-devolved police stations.”

Nhleko explained that funding had been made available for this for the 2015/2016 financial year and all devolved police stations without generators would be provided with back-up generators by the end of the current financial year.

Alternative solutions

Minister Nhleko said in his Parliamentary reply that police were also looking at alternative ways of generating electricity, such as including solar perimeter lighting in all renewal and new generator and electrical maintenance contracts.

Five devolved police stations in the Eastern Cape are fully dependent on solar power – they are the Afsondering, Katkop, Lukholweni, Mbizeni and Zamuxolo polic stations.

“Of the 1 140 police stations, 197 do not have [back-up] generators. Of the 197 police stations, 184 police stations are non-devolved police stations, which is the responsibility of [the Department of Public Works] and 13 are devolved, which is SAPS’ responsibility,” he said.

Eskom supply vs demand

The decision to procure back-up generators comes as power utility Eskom has been implementing planned load shedding due to, among other things, a shortage in generating capacity versus an increasing demand for energy.

In December last year, cabinet announced the establishment of an energy “war room”, in which an inter-ministerial committee – led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – looked at short, medium to long term solutions to tackle the electricity challenges.

Amongst these solutions, the war room would also look at alternative energy sources to help take the pressure off the power grid.

Whilst in his recent address to Parliament, President Jacob Zuma said government had completed a medium term outlook model for the supply and demand of electricity.

Capacity building

He said that to increase supply, Eskom was implementing a structured planned maintenance programme to ensure that the availability of all power stations is improved.

“Eskom has also commissioned the supply of 100MWs from the Sere Wind Farm in the Western Cape, while 827MW of cogeneration contracts have been signed, adding much needed capacity.

“It must be noted that Eskom added 160,000 households to the electricity grid in the past financial year, which added to the demand of electricity”, the President said.