Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica says government is doing everything in its power to manage the energy crisis while striving towards reasonable levels of electricity supply in both the long and short term.
Addressing delegates at the 10th annual African Power and Electricity Congress at the Sandton Convention Centre on Wednesday, Ms Sonjica said government had instituted among others, a Power Conservation Programme (PCP) intended to manage power rationing as earlier proposed by the department.
"To address the current situation, a number of policies and strategies have been developed and approved to ensure that we approach the value chain of electricity supply in an integrated and sustainable manner," the minister said.
To date, Nuclear New Build Programme, Renewable Energy and Liquid fuels strategies have been developed and approved, said Ms Sonjica.
She said in order to speed up the implementation of the power conservation programme, her department was embarking on the development of necessary regulations under existing legislation in order to implement the department's legislative mandate.
"As a region and continent we will continue to call upon all our fellow governments and private sector to collaborate in managing the prosperity of the African continent.
"I am hopeful that through a collective effort that will be here for the next two days, solutions will be deliberated upon to ensure that through energy, we create a better life for all," said Ms Sonjica.
The minister said, however, that in the absence of capacity and energy, the country was faced with either embarking on load shedding or engaging in power rationing.
"We are all aware that we have a national emergency and we appeal to all of us to contribute towards managing the situation... as we know the situation was unforeseen and unprecedented," Ms Sonjica said.
In January this year, the Cabinet announced the implementation of immediate, medium and long-term solutions to electricity-supply emergency situation.
Behavioural changes on the demand side along with other methods of power conservation were among the immediate interventions being made.
These interventions were set to continue over six months as longer term strategies began to kick in, the ministers of Public Enterprises and Minerals and Energy indicated at the time.
"During our deliberations in Cabinet, it became obvious that the interventions that will provide us with immediate relief will be on the demand-side management and energy efficiency," Minister Sonjica said.
Power rationing formed the crux of the power conservation programme, along the lines of steps implemented by countries such as Brazil and Cuba, which effectively turned a similar energy crisis into opportunities to grow their economies, Ms Sonjica said at the time. - BuaNews
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System