Energy director has to carry the candle

2015-03-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The absence of the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, and a general lack of details on the implementation of the government’s five-point electricity plan had MPs hot under the collar yesterday.

Neither Joemat-Pettersson nor her deputy Thembi Majola arrived to submit the plan to the members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on energy.

The deputy director-general for energy, Omphi Aphane, told the MPs ­Joemat-Pettersson was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to finalise an agreement on the Grand Inga hydro-electricity project, while Majola had “prior engagements”.

Chairperson of the committee Fikile Majola, ordered the meeting to go ahead and Aphane delivered a vague presentation of the five-point plan, which did not contain any new information.

DA MP Gordon McKay criticised the presentation, saying it lacked time lines, financing of certain aspects and the impact the electricity crisis is having on the economy. ­

In answer a question on the preferential rate agreement between BHP-Billiton’s aluminium smelter, Aphane said these type of agreements are coming to and end and there will not be new ones. Majola said the committee will again discuss the plan next week.

• Deputy President Cyril Ramphosa is expected to talk about the five-point plan in the electricity “war room” today.

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