Eskom unsure if it will meet deadline to sign IPP contracts

The utility has been accused of deliberately delaying the process for the past 22 months.

FILE: Eskom flags at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom can’t say whether it will meet the new deadline to sign already delayed contracts with 37 renewable independent power producers.

The utility has been accused of deliberately delaying the process for the past 22 months.

The South African Renewable Energy Council says it’s concerned the deadline may be extended following the Cabinet reshuffle.

The council's Brenda Martin says: “When we look at South Africa’s current political situation, there is a need for good governance, transparency and accountability. The programme has been lauded for this and we don’t want this programme to be a casualty of current political events.”

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says they cannot say whether they will meet the new deadline at this stage.

“We are in discussions with stakeholders. At this stage, we are doing everything possible to ensure we fulfill the mandate, which is for Eskom to sign with the renewable [independent power producers] that government has envisioned.”

PROTESTS

Last month, truck drivers protested following President Jacob Zuma's announcement that government will employ additional independent power producers, which could see a drastic reduction in the need for coal transportation.

Truck drivers blocked roads around Tshwane with their vehicles and handed over a memorandum of their demands to government officials.

Drivers threatened to bring the capital to a standstill and called on Zuma to retract his statement.

During his State of the Nation Address in February, Zuma said government was committed to the Independent Power Procurement Programme.

The president said the programme would be expanded to other sources, including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy sources.

WATCH: Protesting coal truck drivers take grievances to Union Buildings

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)