South African President Cyril Ramaphosa turned to the private sector in a bid to end a 14-year-old power crisis that the government has failed to resolve.
Companies will be allowed to build power plants of any size without a license to meet their own needs and to sell it to the grid, he said.
Ramaphosa in a televised address on Monday also announced the doubling of an upcoming power supply tender and said the owners of buildings and houses will be able to sell power from rooftop solar panels to the grid. He said:
We will in the meantime waive or streamline certain regulatory requirements where it is possible to do so within existing legislation. This includes reducing the regulatory requirements for solar projects in areas of low and medium environmental sensitivity.
This, according to the ANC leader, will enable Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, to expand power lines and substations without needing to get environmental authorisation in areas of low and medium sensitivity and within the strategic electricity corridors.
South Africa has experienced load-shedding since 2007 but the current outages are the worst in the country’s history, according to local media.
In April 2022 alone, 1 054 gigawatt-hours of power got cut nationwide, compared to 2 521 gigawatt-hours cut for all of 2021.
Sometimes it only happens once a day, for two hours. On other days, rolling blackouts can last eight hours or more, crippling economic activity and disrupting life in a nation of 60 million people, which is still struggling to get back on its feet following Ovid-19 the pandemic.