DURBAN, April 3 - The business community was supportive of government's efforts to stabilise state owned power producer Eskom and was willing to offer the expertise of its members to help revive the institution, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the presidency said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
"BUSA has made a commitment to leverage its membership in order to place expertise, skills and technological interventions at the disposal of government and Eskom, to reinforce actions that are currently being implemented to stabilise Eskom and to secure the supply of electricity," said the statement.
The statement followed a meeting at the Lethabo Power Station in the Free State earlier in the day where public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said government was implementing a plan to reduce power plant breakdowns and to stop, or minimise, rotational loadshedding. The plan would run until September and if any loadshedding was implemented, it would likely only be Stage 1.
"BUSA’s engagement on these initiatives will serve to complement and strengthen the work being done by the management and board of Eskom in partnership with the Special Cabinet Committee on Eskom chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza and the technical review team on Eskom that is led by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan," said the statement.
BUSA offered its commitment to Ramaphosa on Wednesday in Pretoria after Gordhan updated the business federation on Eskom's challenges and possible solutions, said the statement. "BUSA views the revitalisation of Eskom as the single most important priority for the economy and underpins inclusive growth. "The organisation has proposed the creation of a collaborative platform where business, government and Eskom can work together to explore practical solutions to address the short term operational challenges facing the utility. "
This platform will enable regular and transparent communication with the business community, lend operational and technical expertise and solutions, as well as leverage available human capital by secondment or other means," said the statement. BUSA said it would engage with its members on issues - including demand management - that could help to reduce pressure on the national grid.
The presidency said Ramaphosa welcomed the initiative in the spirit of Thuma Mina. Having a new channel for greater transparency and the sharing of information would facilitate and encourage improved coordination among stakeholders that would assist in the day-to-day improvement of the current situation, said the presidency.