Honourable Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize,
Honourable Minister of Public Enterprises Mr Malusi Gigaba,
Honourable Minister of Energy Ms Dipuo Peters,
Honourable Premier of the Free State, Mr Ace Magashule,
Mayors and Councillors,
Chair of the Eskom Board, Mr Zola Tsotsi, the management and staff,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to address you on this important site visit and brief excursion to this significant project.
As you are aware, from time to time we undertake site visits to assess progress on key projects and programmes that government is implementing, as part of our monitoring and evaluation programme.
We are therefore happy to be here at Ingula today, and we thank you for your warm welcome. Ingula is a significant part of our massive infrastructure development programme, hence our visit today.
Following our last visit at Lephalale some few months ago, we are impressed with the progress in the construction and revival of our power stations.
It demonstrates that we are winning in our efforts to ensure an adequate supply of electricity to match both our household consumption and industrial demands in the country.
For a developing country like ours, electricity supply is a national social and economic priority. At a social level, one of the key achievements of our government since 1994 has been the roll out of electricity supply to our people, even in the most remote areas. This has greatly improved the quality of life.
The statistics from Census 2011 indicates that 84% of the 51.7 million people in South Africa now have access to electricity. This is an important milestone especially given the fact that only 58% of households had access to electricity in 1996 while the figure was 70% in 2001.
This shows a significant improvement and progress in the government’s commitment to reach universal access to electricity for every citizen of our country. Therefore, when we visit a site such as Ingula, it has meaning for every South African, especially to the poor, to whom electricity supply used to be a luxury they could never get before 1994.
Uma sivakashela indawo efana nalena abantu bathola ithemba ukuthi kuyogcina sekukhanya ugesi kuyoyonke imizi eNingizimu Afrika, ukuze kuthuthuke izimpilo zabantu bakithi.
Sizimisele impela ukuyiletha intuthuko emadolobheni kanye nasezindaweni ezisemakhaya.
Beyond households, at an economic level, the importance of electricity and its multiplier effect cannot be overemphasized. Infrastructure development, industry, agri-business, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises - all thrive on reliable electricity supply.
In our National Development Plan we emphasize the need to provide adequate infrastructure in all areas including rural areas by 2030. We also want to ensure economic activities even in rural areas to improve the quality of life. All these will materialise where there is electricity and other infrastructure.
A reliable electricity supply is also critical for key economic sectors such as the mining industry and manufacturing sectors which have also been identified as very crucial in our National Development Plan and our New Growth Path.
It goes without saying that various social sectors, such as education, health and many others also require a reliable supply of electricity. Basically, electricity is a basic necessity of life, work and play in our country.
The erratic electricity supply a few years ago, cost the country, quite significantly. That is why we are working hard to improve energy efficiency. For this reason, it was necessary to take a longer-term view about the supply of electricity. As part of this planning, you will recall that Cabinet has promulgated the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (IRP2). The plan talks about the energy mix that South Africa will use in the next 20 years. We do not want to ever reach a stage where people begin to doubt our energy capacity. Our investments therefore in energy security are in the national interest.
To ensure the security of electricity supply in the future and to sustain economic activities in the country, we are building, through Eskom, additional power stations and major transmission lines on a massive scale. Over the next eight years, more than 340 billion rand will be spent on Eskom’s new build programme, in order to ensure an adequate supply margin in the face of increasing electricity demand.
This investment will go towards completing projects that Eskom committed to a number of years ago, and also bringing on line a further 11 641 Megawatts of new energy in the short-term, adding to the 40 000 Megawatts current capacity.
In 2006, Eskom received a licence to build the Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo - the first new coal-fired power station in more than 20 years, and with a capacity of 4 764 Megawatts.
The first unit at the power station is scheduled to be commissioned in 2013.
In 2008, Eskom awarded a R31, 5 billion contract for its Kusile Power Station, another coal-fired power station being built near Emalahleni in the Mpumalanga province. The station is expected to be completed in 2016/17.
The revival of other power stations such as Camden Power Station, Grootvlei, Komati and Arnot, indicates the critical importance that we attach to meeting the growing electricity demands.
The Ingula project is scheduled to come on line during 2014, with a unit being commissioned each quarter of that year. This project is expected to cost 23 billion rand.
Together with our more than 800 billion rand infrastructure roll-out, this demonstrates that the country’s infrastructure plan will change the lives of our people in very practical terms.
Through these electricity build projects, we will provide the electricity capacity needed to grow the economy, attract investment and create jobs. Medupi, Kusile and Ingula are expected to create approximately 40 000 job opportunities, which translates into 35 500 direct jobs during construction and operation and about 4 500 indirect jobs supporting the programme.
Ladies and gentlemen
It is encouraging that Eskom is continuously exploring other alternatives of renewable energy, as we see here that Ingula does not operate on coal. A wind farm called Sere is also under construction in Cape Town as we continue to go green in our approach to energy. This is in line with our commitments to greening our country to save the planet for future generations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Eskom turns 90 years old in March next year. We will celebrate this milestone positively, as we are delighted at the on-going expansion of electricity supply to households that were marginalised before.
Your ultimate goal should be to ensure that every household in South Africa has electricity regardless of their station in life, whether rich or poor. This is a key developmental goal for our government. Children in rural areas should be able to study using electricity at night and not candles. People must cook, iron using electricity in every corner of our country. That is a simple, but very key developmental goal.
We will indeed have achieved our goals if every household has water, electricity, sanitation, decent shelter and other basic necessities. There are a number of achievements of Eskom that will be highlighted during the 90th year anniversary.
In the 1970s and 1980s South Africa was able to develop its mining industry and to become an industrialised economy largely because it had a secure supply of electricity.
Eskom and the mining industry together extracted value from South Africa’s abundant coal resources to provide the power the country needed, at competitive rates, which still remain very competitive today.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we continue to expand our electricity connection to more people, it is important to use the power efficiently. It is encouraging that Eskom drives an aggressive energy efficiency campaign called the 49M, and is also investing in energy-saving technologies.
Eskom has rolled out 54 million energy saving lightbulbs so far, which is one of the largest rollouts in the world. More importantly, Eskom cannot save energy alone.
It requires every citizen and every person residing in the Republic to become sensitive to this issue and not waste electricity.
Masikhuthaleni njengomphakathi singawumoshi ugesi, siwonge ngoba uyashoda kakhulu. Siyababonga labo abakwenzayo lokhu abalayitha kuphela uma bedinga ukuwusebenzisa.
Honourable Premier and Ministers and all present here, thank you once again for making this site visit possible.
I am more optimistic now that we are getting somewhere.
Each day, South Africa changes for the better, and working together we can do much more!
I thank you!