Electricity minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa will today receive the first consignment of energy equipment donated by the People’s Republic of China.
This comes as the country faces accelerated blackouts, with struggling power utility Eskom ramping up load-shedding to stages five and six.
In August,on the occasion of president Xi Jinping’s state visit,China committed to support South Africa’s electricity generation by donating emergency power equipment worth R167 million. It also availed a grant of approximately R500 million as development assistance.
At the time, Ramokgopa said the equipment will include solar PVs, batteries, inverters and generators, to be used to power public facilities such as hospitals, clinics and correctional services.
In a statement, the Presidency says the equipment donation forms part of the technical assistance programme that was entered into during China’s head of state visit.
The first consignment, which has arrived in SA, consists of 450 gasoline generators, which will be distributed to public service facilities across the country, it states.
“The generators will be used as backup to alleviate the impacts of load-shedding in the delivery of services in clinics, schools and courts, while government continues to implement the energy action plan to ultimately end load-shedding and create sustainable energy security.”
During the state visit, president Cyril Ramaphosa lauded China’s support in addressing the current energy challenges, saying: “Energy cooperation with China is a recent development that we look to deepen, particularly in line with our respective commitments to low-carbon, climate-resilient development.”
Over the years, Eskom has struggled to fully supply electricity to the country and has been implementing ongoing power cuts to avoid total grid collapse.
Amid the power shortages, government has made attempts to add renewable energy to the national grid, with independent power producers driving the move.