De Ruyter warned WCape’s Winde to be independent of Eskom soon

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South Africa’s only opposition-led province plans to facilitate the construction of almost 6GW of power generation capacity to counter nationwide electricity shortages and bolster the regional economy.

Paul Burkhardt and Paul Vecchiatto (Bloomberg)

The Western Cape aims to add as much as 750MW of supply by 2025 and to reach 5 700MW by 2035, Premier Alan Winde, a member of the DA, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Cape Town office on Wednesday. That should be sufficient to meet demand as the provincial economy expands. 

State-owned utility Eskom, which generates more than 90% of the nation’s electricity, has been forced to implement rotational blackouts on a daily basis since 2008, with outages currently at record levels. South Africa’s ruling ANC has announced emergency measures and declared a state of disaster to help it address the crisis, but there’s no sign of it abating in the near term. 

Winde met with Eskom’s former CEO Andre de Ruyter, shortly after he tendered his resignation in December, to seek advice over how the province should approach energy provision.     

“He said you’ve got to become independent as quickly as possible,” Winde recalled. The outgoing CEO didn’t provide much detail, but expressed that “there’s big trouble ahead and, you know, do what you can,” the premier said.

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