Western Cape premier says government will plough R103.4 million to tackle insistent energy crisis

Alan Winde Western Cape Premier. Picture: David Ritchie

Alan Winde Western Cape Premier. Picture: David Ritchie

Published Mar 28, 2024


Cape Town - Delivering his budget vote speech, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said that over the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the Department of the Premier is ploughing R103.4 million to help respond to the energy crisis.

Winde said that for more than 15 years, relentless load shedding had severely hampered potential growth.

“Our economy continues to bleed tens of millions of rand every day while rolling power cuts remain a disastrous reality.

“Since load shedding started, we have lost between R49billion and R61bn in real GDP and counting.

“We are tackling this crisis with the urgency it deserves, going beyond our mandate to add more megawatts to our power system.”

He said the Western Cape energy resilience programme, driven by the Energy Council, remained focused on the demand side management programme.

This programme would focus on supporting municipalities to design and implement demand side management measures at scale; communication campaigns to remind and help the public understand how and why they need to save electricity; promoting the use of energy-efficient products and services by the government, citizens and businesses; and piloting a load management system to assist in managing power use during peak hours.

“Emergency relief: 96000 emergency loadshedding relief packs will be provided to indigent households. The next phase of this initiative will be focusing on school learners in quintiles 1–3.

“Around 4 000 have already been handed out to Western Cape Department of Social Development-funded facilities, such as GBV shelters,” said Winde.

He said his government was taking the Western Cape further into the digital age.

“Our digital and technological capabilities are an extension of the services we offer. We are further empowering and enabling our citizens, preparing them for the future.

“Innovation is a core value of our government. The Western Cape government has rolled out 1600 public wi-fi hot spots across the province with 6GB of free data per device offered to citizens,” said Winde.

The ANC’s leader of the opposition, Cameron Dugmore, said: “When asked about the megawatts to be added to the grid, the premier, when pressed for an answer, had to admit that the first megawatts will only be added to the grid in 18 to 24 months – nothing within the next year.

“In the meantime, the consultants who will be consulted on plans will be raking in hundreds of thousands of rand.”

He added: “This particular department – the department of the premier – has budgeted a whopping R76m for consultants.

“A department for a few, a budget for a few. This provincial government spends more than R1.3bn on a Centre for e-Innovation. That is nearly three times what the provincial government spends on provincial policing functions.

“This provincial government spends more on this e-Innovation Centre than what it spends on early childhood development.

“It spends the same amount of money on this e-Innovation Centre as it does on emergency medical services or health facilities management,” said Dugmore.

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Cape Argus