Zuma: Opening of Medupi's Unit 6 is a milestone for Eskom

The president says Medupi's Unit 6 will stimulate the economy at a difficult time for growth.

President Zuma was joined by Minister of Public Enterprise Lynne Brown and Eskom acting Chief Executive Brian Molefe as he officially opened the Medupi Power Station Unit 6, Liphalale, Limpopo on 30 August 2015. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says the opening of the Medupi Power Station's Unit 6 in Lephalale, in Limpopo is an important milestone in achieving Eskom's growth forecast of 4,800 megawatts capacity on the national grid.

On Sunday, Zuma officially opened the unit after 23 consecutive days without load shedding, and was taken on a tour of the power plant.

It's hoped the Medupi construction, which is due to be completed in 2017, will grow the country's GDP by approximately 0.35 percent per year.

Zuma says the Medupi Unit 6 will stimulate the economy at a difficult time for growth.

"The Medupi Power Station, whose construction started in May 2007, is the largest coal-fired power station in our country. It will also become the world's largest dry cooled coal-fired power station."

The president says the construction of Unit 6 has created thousands of jobs and is adding the crucial 800 megawatts to the national grid.

He says the construction has also benefitted the Lephalale community.

"The Lephalale town infrastructure also benefitted from a R10 million upgrade of electricity infrastructure through the supply and installation of transformers to deal with the short term capacity constrain."

With the economy facing serious challenges with regards to growth, Unit 6's addition to the national grid is welcome news.

Growth is being stunted with hopes of two percent for this year but a realistic figure of around 1.4 percent more likely.

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said several weeks ago that at least one percent of economic growth had been lost due to power problems.

Zuma says the energy boost was part of government's nine-point plan to stimulate the local economy.

"We are continuing to implement measures that will remove on binding constraints in the economy."

Zuma says the construction of Medupi created 18,000 jobs with South African companies obtaining 62 percent of R75 billion in contracts.

Images by GCIS.