Eswatini Daily News

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has transferred to his electricity minister the responsibility to procure new power generation capacity, taking it away from the mining and energy minister, Ramaphosa’s office said on Friday.

In March, Ramaphosa appointed Kgosientsho Ramokgopa to the newly created post of electricity minister to try to find a solution to the worst power cuts on record.

But Ramokgopa’s powers had not been clearly delineated.

READ MORE: South Africa’s Ramaphosa denies government failed over power crisis

“After due consideration, President Ramaphosa has transferred to the Minister of Electricity all powers and functions contained in Section 34(1) of the Electricity Regulation Act, which was previously entrusted to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.

Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act deals with new generation capacity.

Government critics accuse mining and energy minister Gwede Mantashe of being too slow to procure new generation capacity and reluctant to embrace renewable energy, seen as one of the quickest ways of easing the country’s crippling power shortage.

READ MORE: As Eskom Woes Deepen, Power Cuts Loom for Eswatini

Former union leader Mantashe has dismissed criticism that he has been slow to source new power, but he has frequently expressed scepticism about moving away from coal and towards cleaner energy sources.

Ramaphosa’s office said Mantashe would still be the one to implement new power procurements.

Before being appointed electricity minister, Ramokgopa headed efforts to drive infrastructure investment.

As well as his ministerial portfolio, Mantashe serves as chairman of the governing African National Congress (ANC) party that Ramaphosa leads, making him an influential political figure.

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