SAREC
On Thursday evening, South Africans gathered eagerly around their television sets to watch the President deliver the much anticipated State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Marking the 26th anniversary of the release of President Nelson Mandela from prison, which was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of our country, Zuma noted that the country needs to implement an effective turnaround plan.

The President said that the IMF and the World Bank predict that the South African economy will grow by less than 1% in 2016.

[quote]Forming part of the turnaround plan, and touching on last year’s Nine Point Plan, includes finding resolutions to the current energy challenge.

“Progress has been made to stabilise the electricity supply. There has been no load shedding since August last year which has brought relief for both households and industry alike,” Zuma said.

He added: “Government has invested ZAR83 billion [$5 billion] in Eskom which has enabled the utility to continue investing in Medupi and Kusile, while continuing with a diligent maintenance programme.

“Additional units from Ingula power station will be connected in 2017, even though some of them will begin synchronisation this year.”

Kusile

Earlier this month, Eskom’s spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe expressed confidence in the progress of Kusile Unit 1, stating that it is “anticipated for completion soon”.

The 4,800MW Kusile power station, still under construction in the Mpumalanga province, will consist of six units each with a capacity of 800MW.

S.African energy mix

The President highlighted in his address: “The multiple bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme have attracted an investment of ZAR194 billion [$12 billion].

“This initiative is a concrete example of how government can partner with the private sector to provide practical solutions to an immediate challenge that faces our country.

“In 2016, government will select the preferred bidders for the coal independent power producer [programme]. Request for Proposals will also be issued for the first windows of gas to power bids.”

Zuma stressed that the nuclear energy expansion programme will remain part of the future energy mix.

“Our plan is to introduce nine thousand six hundred megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant.

He said: “We will test the market to ascertain the true cost of building modern nuclear plants. Let me emphasise that we will only procure nuclear on a scale and pace that our country can afford.”

Stimulating private sector participation

The President highlighted that the country “remains an attractive investment destination. It may face challenges, but its positive attributes far outweigh those challenges. We must continue to market the country as a preferred destination for investments. This requires a common narrative from all of us as business, labour and government.”

With efforts to attract more private sector participation, especially within the energy sector, Zuma noted: “Government is developing a One Stop Shop/Invest SA initiative to signal that South Africa is truly open for business. We will fast-track the implementation of this service, in partnership with the private sector.

“Such an initiative requires that government removes the red tape and reviews any legislative and regulatory blockages. We have established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment Promotion which will ensure the success of investment promotion initiatives.”