Agri SA and Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) met with Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga in late January and the conclusion was that power shortages are here to stay – the issue is how best to manage them.
“The starting point of our discussion was to acknowledge that we have a national crisis on our hands and there is no quick solution to the fundamental problems,” said Agri SA executive director Hans van der Merwe. “Eskom is looking into cogeneration, and hopefully the private sector will come to the table.”
“Industries like sugar and forestry may become more self-sufficient and Eskom is fast-tracking the process of putting possible excess electricity back into the grid. Eskom wants to facilitate this before winter, if possible,” he continued. Van Der Merwe said that while Eskom understands the problems faced by agriculture they have “a lot of woes and few solutions”.
Van der Merwe suggested to that the Western Cape’s Monitoring Committee, recently resurrected after the Koeberg crisis, be used as a model (see below). “Monitoring Committee established a protocol of how to manage the Koeberg crisis with least interruption,” said Van der Merwe. “The protocol provided for short-term interventions. Agri Western Cape can set an example from past experience.” – Robyn Joubert