Sierra Leone Karpowership triggered power cuts should be a warning to South Africa

  • The news that Karpowership has cut off electricity supply to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, seemingly due to unpaid bills, should be a warning to citizens of what could happen if South Africa resolved to go with Karpower to address the energy crisis.
  • This is according to The Green Connection, one of the eco-justice organisations that has been opposing the Turkish-owned company’s bid to secure expensive 20-year contracts for its powerships, here in South Africa.

The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy says, “Since it was first announced that Karpowerships was a preferred bidder to supply emergency electricity to South Africa, we have pointed out several problems with the process to progress these deals. Just in terms of the financial implications, we believe that Karpowerships will be too expensive for a country like ours, whose economy has been severely weakened by poor governance, corruption, and mismanagement. And what is happening in Sierra Leone is just another example illustrating why this is another bad energy idea from our government. We do not want expensive Karpowerships here. In addition to the loadshedding crisis and the rising cost of everything, South Africa cannot afford to go down the same path.”

The Green Connection and other NGOs have gone to court to obtain relevant info. In August 2023, The Green Connection submitted a replying affidavit to KarpowershipSA companies and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) opposing affidavits in The Green Connection’s application to compel the full record of decision. This application forms part of a case brought by The Green Connection against NERSA to challenge its decision to grant three electricity generation licenses to the KarpowershipSA companies to operate powerships in the ports of Saldanha, Ngqura (Coega) and Richards Bay, which case is still pending. This court case was initiated in April 2022.

And just last week, The Green Connection and Natural Justice challenged the decision of Minister of the Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Barbara Creecy, to allow Karpowership to submit a Generic Environmental Management Programme (GEMPr) for Saldanha Bay. The organisations argue, in a letter to the DFFE, that the decision is unlawful.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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