On Wednesday, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Ambassador Thembisile Majola (MP), addressed a gathering of delegates at the South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society (SAYNPS) Nuclear Youth Summit in the Eastern Cape.
Majola highlighted the significance of the event being held in a region that is diversifying into other sectors such as infrastructure development as well as gearing itself to taking advantage of the enormous potential in the ocean economy, such as oil rig maintenance; aquaculture and expansion of port facilities – all of which requires affordable, sustainable and reliable energy.
Significance of reliable energy in regional development
“Our country needs to take urgent action in order to ensure security of supply for the country for the next 20 years,” Majola said.
The MP noted: “The integrated Resource Plan (IRP) sets out a path for South Africa’s long term energy future introducing new players and diversifying sources of energy.
“Importantly, the IRP envisages a balanced energy mix with nuclear as an integral part of our baseload, as is the case currently.”
The Eastern Cape Province, and Thyspunt specifically, is a possible site for the envisaged nuclear expansion programme.
“This development will serve as a catalyst for major growth of the economy of the Province. In order to harness and optimise the benefit of this programme, we would require a sustained supply of skilled workforce across a broad spectrum of expertise in various engineering fields, technical and social sciences, artisans and technicians amongst others,” Majola added.
According to the MP, this development will increase opportunities for this region to be a hub for research and development, innovation, technology development, training and skills transfer.
Therefore, a significant boost for the development of local business and employment opportunities.
Nuclear Youth Summit
Highlighting the Summit, Majola noted that the event takes place at “an opportune time in our country when unemployment especially amongst the young people is at its highest.
“Many of the unemployed young people lack the skills required by the knowledge economy. With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, there is a need for the youth to acquire the requisite skills, expertise and experience so as to be able to contribute effectively to the development and growth of the economy of our country.”
As the late president of the ANC OR Tambo said: “The Children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future”.
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