7 December 2007 – The blueprint for South Africa’s electricity industry has been approved by cabinet. This comes amid worries that the country will not be able to produce sufficient power during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Buyelwa-Sonjica

Buyelwa Sonjica,
minister of minerals
and energy

Buyelwa Sonjica, minister of minerals and energy, said the three year plan would be regularly reviewed.

"Recent experiences with blackouts and brownouts (fuel shortages) in South Africa and abroad have demonstrated the vulnerability of world economies to electricity shortages and point to the need for coordinated long-term planning," she told reporters at a press conference.

"The acceleration of demand side management and energy efficiency interventions has been identified as a critical strategy that can mitigate against the increasing electricity demand growth, rather than the building of new power stations," Sonjica continued.

Key sectors of South Africa’s economy are dependent on energy and provide up to 59 % of South Africa’s GDP.

Electricity reserves have been falling over recent years due to strong economic growth, increased access to electricity and a delay in the construction of power stations. Reserves currently sit between 8 and 10%.

Eskom has warned that it may not be able to reach the international standard 15 % electricity reserve margin by 2012.