Ramaphosa: I have nothing to do with any Independent Power Producers

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he is not advancing the interests of his brother-in-law Patrice Motsepe or any other person doing business in Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Ramaphosa was answering questions in Parliament on Wednesday. EFF leader Julius Malema had asked why government had "rushed" to sign IPPs and suggested that the president had business interests in the agreements.

Ramaphosa, however, hit back at the claims that the IPPs were to advance certain interests.

"I have nothing to do with any person who is currently in business doing IPPs or whatever. I have nothing to do with that," he told MPs.

As a regulator, Ramaphosa said he would make sure he would never get involved in businesses of that nature. "From where I stand, I should never seek to advance interests of relatives, interests of people who are close to me." 

He reiterated that there should never be suspicion that he and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe were advancing the interests of relatives, and if there were evidence of such, it should be brought forward.

"We must stop casting aspersions. We must stop spreading rumours."

Ramaphosa also said that the signing of the 27 IPPs was not a rushed decision. The successful bidders were selected and announced in 2015. The three-year delay is linked to the finalisation of the agreements which had to be signed by Eskom, he explained.

Earlier this year, Radebe signed agreements with 27 independent renewable energy power producers. But unions have raised concerns regarding the job losses the agreements could cause, particularly in the coal sector.

Radebe told the portfolio committee on energy in May that the IPPs had nothing to do with job losses in the sector and that they had not been established as competitors to coal-fired energy.

During the session Ramaphosa reiterated that the IPPs would not negatively affect Eskom’s current capacity but would rather supplement and support stable power supply in future. 

"Increasing renewable capacity is a cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions in country," Ramaphosa explained.

Furthermore, Eskom’s excess power is only momentary, as power stations will be decommissioned. In this case, there is an obligation to make sure the workers at these stations are not left unemployed.

"We must find ways to mitigate any job losses there may be as power stations age … if it does happen, we must make sure we can shore up workers who may lose job opportunities."

Ramaphosa said that the revised energy mix should be seen as a boon to create more jobs going forward.

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