/ 10 February 2024

Malema says coal and nuclear are needed to end load-shedding

Malema said they will emulate countries that have success in providing electricity to fix the power problems South Africa has

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says when the party gets a chance to govern, it will stop the plans to decommission seven coal-fired power stations, which are expected to be closed by 2032.

Speaking during the party’s manifesto launch on Saturday themed “our land, jobs now and end load-shedding”, Malema said decommissioning power plants goes against the needs of South Africans.

Malema added that ending load-shedding includes extending the lifespan of coal-fired power stations until the renewable energy sector can prove it can generate enough megawatts to sustain the country. 

Shutting down coal power stations is part of the country’s plan to move away from fossil fuels, including coal. This is part of the Paris Agreement– a legally binding document signed by countries with the goal to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. As part of the agreement, South Africa plans to move to cleaner energy to lower emissions.

South Africans have been subjected to 16 years of load-shedding due to bad planning, a lack of maintenance and corruption like looting at Eskom all of which have contributed towards slow economic growth.

Concerns about insufficient baseload – the minimum level of demand on the electrical grid at a time – have characterised discussions around renewable energy, specifically about what happens during peak demand periods when the sun isn’t shining or there is no wind.

Malema said to solve load-shedding, the party will ensure “the security of electricity supply for at least the next 20 years, emulating successful models like that of China, to foster national sovereignty and sustainable economic growth”.

This is as the country was plunged into stage six load-shedding on Saturday after Eskom said it faced setbacks due to multiple generating units being taken out of service (ten generating units). 

In a statement, Eskom said it had lost 50% of its generating units because of tube leaks.  “This resulted in insufficient generation capacity. Additionally, the delay in returning three units from planned maintenance also contributed to inadequate generation capacity and increased reliance on emergency reserves,” Eskom said.

On Saturday, Malema said the EFF government will enhance technical capacity by collaborating with China and other friendly nations to repair and restore coal power stations,” Malema said.

“The EFF government will engage with strategic partners to build a nuclear power plant in South Africa through a transparent procurement process.”

“This facility is planned to produce between 3 000 and 6 000 megawatts of electricity, under a 20-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract. This initiative will augment South Africa’s electricity generation capacity and symbolise a significant step towards energy independence and sustainable development,” Malema said.

He added that the EFF manifesto’s plans to solve the electricity crisis extend to eradicating illegal electricity connections, launching an electricity safety campaign and investing in the electrification of the African continent.