The Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy has welcomed the plan to implement the proposed nuclear new build programme at a scale and pace that the country can afford to ensure the security of energy supply.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) briefed the committee on May 24 on its strategic plan for the five-year term to 2024/25, as well as its budget for the 2020/21 financial year.
The committee expressed concern about governance and leadership challenges that riddle State-owned companies. The committee said that State-owned companies take a big slice from the national budget, but they continue to have challenges.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe noted that since his appointment as Minister, functional boards and CEOs had been appointed at the entities that had experienced problems at leadership level.
He conceded, however, that there were still two of them that still had such challenges.
“We have normalised entities by reducing operational and functional risk,” Mantashe said.
The committee wanted to know the extent to which the department had taken action to ensure the generation of electricity by municipalities, as announced in President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address, in February, when he said that municipalities in good standing would be able to develop or procure their own power.
In response to that, the department said regulations for the municipalities to generate their own electricity are out, but the department said power generation for municipalities will be aligned to the national plan.
The committee queried the impact of Covid-19 on the department’s budget and the department’s work on service delivery.
On that issue, the DMRE confirmed it would come back to the committee with a revised budget and new strategies to respond to Covid-19 – after the revised national budget had been presented by the Finance Minister in Parliament.
The committee welcomed the support of the DMRE on small, medium-sized and microenterprises and told the department that support would inevitably create job opportunities.
Committee chairperson Tebogo Modise highlighted that the reduction of fatalities in mines, the publication of regulations for municipalities to procure their power, and electricity connections for households that are mostly in rural areas all indicate that the department is improving on its work and accelerating the wheels of service delivery.