Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Ramaphosa’s big growth plan threatened by power cuts

A major 18-sector growth initiative is imperilled by power cuts now ripping up the economy, warns one of the architects of President Cyril Ramaphosa's signature growth strategy.

At the State of the Nation Address (SONA), Ramaphosa said the Public Private Growth Initiative, stewarded by Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is going to be a key growth driver to boost South Africa’s stagnant Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

But the unexpected power crisis which hit the country three days after the state of the nation address is a threat.


The growth initiative is unprecedented in the 25 years of democracy. In 2018, after listening to Ramaphosa’s first SONA – in which he called South Africans to service using Hugh Masekela’s song Thuma Mina (Send Me) – Toyota Europe CEO Johan van Zyl, who first led the company’s SA operation, called up fellow chief executives.

“We can’t let SONA happen and not respond,” he said.

A first meeting was called in March last year and the business bosses first decided on three sectors primed for growth to be part of the initiative. Once the idea was laid out, this grew to 10 sectors and expanded to 18.

The growth model is built on the success of the Japanese model led by the powerful Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) in that country where government supports sectors with potential. This is the opposite of the special economic zone (SEZ) which is the geographic growth zone model favoured by South Africa’s department of trade and industry for most of the democratic era.

Not delivering

Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said earlier power cuts could continue until April because the two new coal-fired power stations, Medupi and Khusile, which cost over R400bn to build, are not yet delivering reserve capacity to the national grid. There had also been problems off-loading the diesel needed to run turbines which provide emergency power.

This has meant that essential maintenance on the 18-strong fleet of power stations could not be carried out, said Gordhan, who added that the power stations were in a condition of “distinct neglect”.

Government ordered a forensic probe into both Medupi and Khusile in December last year, but this has not yet been released.

Read the original article here.

Credit image/google images/ power cut.

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