IFP leaders exploit free electricity, says minister

2011-02-10 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Energy minister Dipuo Peters yesterday accused Inkatha Freedom Party leaders in KwaZulu-Natal of using free electricity supplies to households in the province as a political weapon.

He said the IFP’s action in KwaZulu-Natal could undermine the government’s objective to supply all households with electricity by 2014.

His accusation came in the wake of the news that the ANC-led government will not achieve its electrification objective.

In a submission to the portfolio committee for energy about the progress of the government’s national programme for electricity supply to disadvantaged households (NEP) — which includes both formal and informal settlements — Peters said she had met the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, Zululand district municipality mayor councillor Blessed Gwala (IFP) and provincial premier Dr Zweli Mkhize about the so-called “political islands” existing in the province.

She claimed that IFP-run municipalities are overlooking houses belonging to ANC supporters. “Universal access to electricity cannot be granted only to ticket-holders [of political parties],” continued Peters.

KwaZulu-Natal is one of the provinces with the greatest electricity backlog.

The IFP member of the committee, Eric Lucas, did not defend his party against the allegations.

The minister said a lack of capacity in municipalities and an inadequate budget for the NEP are further reasons for the greatest headaches relating to the government’s objective.

In terms of the medium-term budget framework for 2010 — which spans the period up to the 2012-2013 financial year, 570 000 electrical supply connections have to be effected at a budgeted cost of around R9,2 billion.

Ompi Aphane, deputy director-general of electricity, nuclear and clean energy in the Energy Department, said that based on the department’s current budget for the project, it will take more than 10 years to complete the electrification programme.

“We definitely need more innovative financing,” he said.

Completing the task by 2014, as promised by the government, will require an increase of at least 40% in the annual budget for this electrification programme, he added.

While 75% of South African households have access to electricity today, more than 572 000 households are without electricity in Gauteng, the province with the greatest electricity backlog in informal settlements.

In formal households (where the government built houses without electricity) the backlog is greatest in KwaZulu-Natal, with more than 650 000 homes lacking electricity.

Aphane said only 37% of municipalities receiving money from central government to effect universal access to electricity have the capacity to spend it.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.