From leader to losing out
Globally, investment shows that clean renewable energy is the future but Eskom and factions in government seem hell-bent on making South Africa pursue nuclear energy.
south Africa’s energy sector is facing uncertainty and turmoil, which appears to be directly related to the current political crisis the country is dealing with. Eskom’s Brian Molefe featured prominently in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, which investigated the influence the Gupta family has on the president, a number of ministers and state-owned entities (SOEs). Molefe has since fallen on his sword and will be leaving the utility at the end of December, and Madonsela has left the office of the Public Protector after her term ended.
However, the State of Capture report remains a political football being kicked around and Eskom appears intent on pursuing nuclear energy, despite department of energy (DOE) policy delaying the need for nuclear to 2037. Other academic studies have pushed this back as far as 2040, or suggested nuclear is not needed at all.
Critics believe factions of government are pushing the nuclear programme, which is expected to cost billions, as it will provide opportunities for enrichment similar to the arms deal.
The power utility’s head of generation, Matshela Koko, who has been appointed as acting CEO to replace Molefe, has made public statements that suggest nothing has changed in Eskom’s hunger for nuclear.
Although he has stated that the parastatal is not “married” to nuclear, he has insisted that Eskom will continue to pursue it and that the power utility could pay for the nuclear build programme from its own cash reserves. He stated that this would amount to R150bn in 10 years’ time.
Global expansion of renewables
However, while Eskom advocates for nuclear, globally investment is shifting Acting CEO of Eskom