Mantashe Rattled By Protesters at Africa Energy Indaba

  • South Africa’s Mineral Resources and Energy Minister delivered the keynote address at the Africa Energy Indaba yesterday.
  • The premier energy conference and exhibition gathers thousands of energy sector industry leaders and decision makers from the African continent and the rest of the world.
  • During his speech, he was unexpectedly faced by Greenpeace Africa activists making a bold statement, urging him to “end load shedding and shift to renewable energy.” 

Mantashe started his speech from his usual Africa centric script on the energy transition and energy access, which plays out at a snail’s pace. Mantashe said that “Energy production in Africa must be aligned to Africa’s socio-economic development. This means that there must be a balance between energy demand for socio-economic development and energy supply that is premised on low carbon emissions”.

“As African leaders, we are duty bound to act with determination to resolve the intricate problems that beset our continent without the encirclement pressure to please others first. We must be pragmatic in our approach to a low emissions future,” added Mantashe.

Clearly agitated by all the protest signage that suddenly appeared before him, and going off script, he then accused the people conducting the protest of being the voices of those that want to encircle Africa. “It is this group who speaks on behalf of Africans and Africans are encircled, they must be conduits of their ideas. We don’t think we should allow that, this is what the delegates of this indaba must be occupied with,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe read out one protesters sign that read COAL = CORUPTION and then said “Coal corruption, it’s fine. And corruption is everywhere, including in renewables, I can tell you that.” Was this tacit acknowledgement of corruption within the Independent Power Producers Procurement Office which falls under his control? The outcome of REIPPPP Bid Window 5 raised a number of red flags. Read more

After the protesters were removed peacefully, Mantashe went to back to script mentioning that South Africa and Zimbabwe account for the world’s largest production of known global platinum group metals suitable for the development of hydrogen. “There is no doubt that if African leaders work together, we will achieve a great deal for the continent in the hydrogen revolution,” he said.

Link to Minister Mantashe’s full speech HERE

Speaking on the sidelines at the event Mantashe said that the appointment of Kgosientsho Ramokgopa’s as Electricity Minister will not overlap with his portfolio because the new minister will focus on Eskom, which falls outside his authority. At this point in time, Mantashe is responsible for the procurement of new generation capacity, a responsibility which he clearly feels he still has. Mantashe has been accused of worsening the energycrisis in South Africa by deliberately delaying procurement of new generation capacity which has put immense pressure on Eskom’s existing generation capacity made up of predominantly ageing coal fired power stations. Read more

Related news: Mantashe speaks nonsense to parliament on South Africa’s energy sector

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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