Tina Joematt-Pettersson
The growth and development of South Africa is dependent on relationships with neighbouring countries, said energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson

In South Africa, energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and deputy energy minister Ambassador Thembisile Majola yesterday joined President Jacob Zuma in strongly condemning the current attacks on non-South Africans in parts of the country.

The message from the Department of Energy (DoE) was that to achieve effective growth and development of the continent, it is imperative for all countries to work together to achieve a desirable outcome.

Cross border relationships are key to growth

With electricity at the core of growth and development, the ministry is already in partnership with various countries in efforts to expand and secure electricity access.

The DoE highlighted the Grand Inga Hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example of interconnections being established to provide power to members of the SADC region including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, Namibia and Angola in the long run.

South African-based energy company Sasol is involved in extracting gas from gas fields in neighbouring countries to supply South African businesses and households with power, with a large portion of South African crude oil imported from countries such as Nigeria and Angola.

The DoE said: “Parallel to these specific energy interactions with African countries, our country already has long standing reciprocal relationships with a number of neighbouring countries from whom we procure electricity, and the water required to power our power stations.”

“These relationships between South Africa and our sister African countries has enabled us to electrify more than 6 million new households since 1994. Today government has a programme of action to reduce the backlog of connections and we are committed to ensure that all households are serviced with an electricity supply,” the DoE added.

Joemat-Pettersson explained: “Our common African history and bonds of fraternity and unity is what gave impetus to the liberation struggles of South Africans. We treasure this history, and call on all South Africans to embrace our brothers and sisters and, to condemn attacks on Foreign Nationals in all its manifestations.”

Dissemination of the message

Yesterday Joemat-Pettersson visited communities and businesses in the vicinity of Marabastad, an area of taxi ranks and bus stations in Pretoria, as part of the department’s stakeholder engagement process.

The minister used the opportunity to disseminate messages that condemn the violent attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa and also express support to non-South Africans who have been victims of these attacks.