Mantashe: Govt pressing ahead with ‘disastrous’ solar geysers programme

Replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday, Mantashe said he inherited the problems when he took over the portfolio.

FILE: Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said the government was pressing ahead with plans to install scores of thousands of solar water geysers but has described the programme as a disaster.

Replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday, Mantashe said he inherited the problems when he took over the portfolio.

Mantashe said 87,000 solar water geysers that were put in storage, at a cost of nearly R300 million, were taken to municipalities, of which just 7,000 have so far been installed.

“The most honourable thing to do about solar geysers is to admit openly that actually, this is a disaster that we inherited. It is our disaster now, we cannot continue blaming our predecessors about it, it is on our table, we must deal with it.”

He listed a number of problems, including suspicions about the R290 million cost for storage: “They (the geysers) were put there (in storage) – nothing was done, and I think out of that storage money, it was a slush fund. We are suspecting that. We are investigating that…"

Mantashe also said a number of sub-contractors were found to lack the skills to perform the work and needed further training: “So, we are sitting with a disaster on our hands and we must sort that disaster out.”

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