Justin Brown

CityPress - - Business And Tenders -

1Zuma’s as­ser­tion that “Eskom will sign the out­stand­ing power pur­chase agree­ments for re­new­able en­ergy in line with the pro­cured rounds” was in­ter­preted by the re­new­ables in­dus­try as sig­nalling ex­ec­u­tive in­ter­ven­tion in the im­passe that had halted 37 re­new­able projects worth R58 bil­lion in to­tal.

The projects were cho­sen as pre­ferred bid­ders in the Re­new­able En­ergy In­de­pen­dent Power Pro­ducer Pro­cure­ment Pro­gramme, but from July 2016 Eskom re­fused to sign their power pur­chase agree­ments.

“One can only gather that Eskom has been wait­ing for in­struc­tion from a higher level of gov­ern­ment and that this has now hap­pened,” said Brenda Martin, chair­per­son of the SA Re­new­able En­ergy Coun­cil.

This week, Eskom started con­tact­ing the project de­vel­op­ers to ex­tend their so-called bud­get quotes, which set project fees and cost “hun­dreds of mil­lions” to pre­pare, said Martin.

The ma­jor­ity of the quotes had ex­pired by late last year, she added.

Eskom had now as­sured the de­vel­op­ers that the quotes were still valid.

Eskom spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe con­firmed that the bud­get quotes were be­ing ex­tended, but de­nied that the power util­ity’s po­si­tion had shifted.

The re­new­able projects would still be con­tracted “at a pace and scale we can af­ford”, he said, adding: “We will have to idle coal ca­pac­ity as we add re­new­ables.”

Eskom’s act­ing CEO, Mat­shela Koko, said he did not want to con­tract new re­new­able power un­til it was needed – in about 2021 – to save costs.

The bid­ding hap­pened when there was a short­age of power. Now there is a sur­plus, thanks to fall­ing de­mand and units at the new coal sta­tions of Kusile and Medupi hav­ing been com­pleted.

DRAFT PROP­ERTY PRAC­TI­TION­ERS BILL

2Zuma made the point in his state of the na­tion ad­dress that less than 5% of the prop­erty sec­tor was owned or man­aged by black peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly Africans.

“A draft Prop­erty Prac­ti­tion­ers’ Bill will be pub­lished by the depart­ment of hu­man set­tle­ments for pub­lic com­ment,” he added.

Ndi­vhuwo Mabaya, spokesper­son for Depart­ment of Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu, said the draft bill had been com­pleted and would go to Cabi­net for ap­proval be­fore be­ing re­leased for pub­lic com­ment, which was likely to hap­pen be­fore June.

He added that a key sec­tion of the bill was ded­i­cated to the trans­for­ma­tion of the prop­erty sec­tor.

The bill would also pri­ori­tise black busi­ness and black prop­erty agents when it came to gov­ern­ment prop­erty deals, Mabaya said.

Once en­acted, this bill would re­place the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Act.

The new bill would gov­ern es­tate agents, con­veyancers and de­vel­op­ers of prop­erty, Mabaya said.

The bill aimed to con­vert the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Board into the Prop­erty Prac­ti­tion­ers’ Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (PPRA) and im­prove the gover­nance of es­tate agents – who would be known as prop­erty prac­ti­tion­ers – by the PPRA, said Mabaya.

The new bill would also reg­u­late home in­spec­tors, who would be called Prop­erty As­sess­ment Prac­ti­tion­ers. It would reg­u­late th­ese prac­ti­tion­ers’ ac­tiv­i­ties as well as train­ing stan­dards, he added.

The new bill would re­move all ju­ris­dic­tion of con­sumer pro­tec­tion re­lat­ing to prop­erty trans­ac­tions from the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act and bring it un­der the PPRA, said Mabaya.

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