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Ramaphosa and Mantashe create the impression that they have no respect for the environment

Government’s statements and actions concerning the controversial Karpowership create the impression that the ANC government is willing to throw all environmental concerns overboard.

Part of the 2020 emergency power plan was that these floating power stations would be connected to the national power grid at Richards Bay, Coega and Saldanha Bay.

The FF Plus’s criticism at the time related to a twenty-year contract at a fixed rate. An emergency power contract should not exceed three years, at the most.

In the meantime, a drawn-out legal battle ensued, which included decisions against the Karpowership by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, as well as several court rulings.

Meanwhile, allegations arose that the Minister of Transport had instructed Transnet in March this year to create designated spaces, which must be available for the next twenty years, at the ports in question so that the powerships can dock there.

According to reports, Transnet was very resistant because it is currently expanding these ports and complying with such an instruction will come at a hefty price.

It is against this backdrop that President Cyril Ramaphosa declared in the National Assembly during a question-and-answer session last Thursday that if it were up to him, the powerships would have been supplying power to South Africa long ago already.

During the discussion of his budget vote, Mr Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, declared that certain powers with an anti-development agenda are exploiting environmental concerns for their own benefit.

That was a direct reference to the rejection of Karpowership’s environmental applications.

The only conclusion is that the ANC government wants to ignore carefully considered environmental decisions while simultaneously chaining South African power consumers and Transnet to an exorbitant long-term contract.

The question is why. With an expensive election campaign up ahead and the ANC’s dire financial position in mind, one cannot help but wonder whether the two matters are somehow related.

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