The Western Cape will be the first province to be loadshedding free in South Africa

Issued by Alan Winde – DA Western Cape Premier Candidate
30 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

The following remarks were delivered at a press briefing in Cape Town today.

Please find attached a soundbite by Alan Winde and pictures here and here. 

Today, I stand before you, not just as the Democratic Alliance’s Premier candidate for the Western Cape, but as a voice for every South African who has hope that there is an alternative to the ANC’s legacy of darkness…

Load shedding is a wrecking ball: destroying jobs, destroying our economy, and making our communities unsafe.

Wherever I go in the Western Cape I meet residents who tell me how load shedding is negatively impacting their lives.

Residents who can’t provide a warm meal for their children in the morning before school or at the end of a long day.

Learners who have difficulty completing their homework or studying at night in the darkness.

2023 saw the worst load shedding to date.

The Western Cape is estimated to have lost between R48.6 billion and R61.2 billion in real GDP since load shedding first hit.

The cost of load shedding on the provincial economy is estimated to have been R12,8 billion in just 2023 alone!

But here, in the Western Cape, we are working day and night to get the power back on.

The DA has a plan to end loadshedding in the Western Cape.

And our pledge to residents of the Western Cape ahead of the 2024 election is to cut load-shedding by four stages in the next five years.

Our plan is already underway!

In 2022, we established the Western Cape Energy Council to formulate, coordinate and drive the province’s multi-pronged approach to ease and eventually end load shedding in the Western Cape.

Our aim is that by 2035 we will generate 5 700 MW of our own energy through enabling the private sector and other role players to step-in. Recent data estimates that 835MW of solar PV has already been installed in the Western Cape through Solar PV – this means that we are well on our way to achieving our goal!

Central to our plan is our Western Cape Energy Resilience programme which is supporting municipalities across the province to implement renewable energy projects. 24 municipalities are being supported with Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) with 21 providing compensation for feedback of electricity.

We have allocated spending to improve energy resilience – almost R7 billion will be spent over the next three years by the DA-led Western Cape Government and municipalities to make the Western Cape energy resilient.

We are capacitating municipalities to implement renewable energy projects.

The DA-led Western Cape Government’s Municipal Energy Resilience Initiative develops and builds capacity at municipalities across the province to implement renewable energy projects and solutions.

This initiative has so far seen the successful request for information from more than 100 potential energy generation projects. With 2 000 MWs already in the market, and more in development, the province is well on its way to meeting its target of generating 5 700 MW of energy by 2035.

The load shedding-free town project in Riversdale is a collaboration between the Western Cape Government (WCG) and Hessequa Municipality and is an important pilot project showing that investing in energy can generate revenue for the Municipality. Over the next three years, the Municipality will implement the

R210 million renewable energy project that will help reduce power cuts.

We are delivering loadshedding relief packs to our vulnerable.

Load shedding has a disproportionately higher impact on the poor who unlike wealthier residents are not able to protect themselves against its impact, therefore heightening the risk of further increasing inequality.

This is one of the reasons why we started distributing load shedding relief kits to residents in our shelter and care facilities. 3 996 loadshedding relief packs have been delivered to assist people with disabilities, older persons and victims of gender-based violence.

A further 96 000 loadshedding relief packs will be delivered to vulnerable learners in Grades 1 and 12 to help them study and learn – even when the lights go out.

Yesterday I delivered the packs to matric learners at Bardale and Voorbrug Secondary Schools.

And we are investing in infrastructure to keep delivering services during load shedding.

We have allocated R89 million to municipalities to ensure that critical water and sewage infrastructure works during load shedding.

In addition, 195 health facilities have generator capacity to continue essential services during load shedding, 47 clinics have completed inverter installations and 10 hospitals have been exempted up to Stage 6 load shedding.

New Somerset Hospital behind me is one of those hospitals that is currently exempt up to stage 6 load shedding.

And we are investing to support businesses hard hit by load shedding.

The Alternative Energy Support Programme has installed 12 Solar Backup systems at 12 municipal SMME trading hubs in 7 municipalities, which include:

• Drakenstein

• Stellenbosch

• Cape Aghulhas

• Theewaterskloof

• Laingsburg

• Oudtshoorn

• Mossel Bay

Through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Alternative Energy Support Programme, we allocated R12.5 million in the 2023/24 financial year to install Solar PV backup systems at trading hubs where small businesses operate, to make sure that they can stay open and keep doing business, especially when national load shedding hits. This is assisting at least 50 businesses to stay open, and keep trading, sustaining more than 100 jobs, even when the lights go out.

5159 businesses are being directly assisted through the Green Economy support programme.

The City of Cape Town is also implementing its Load shedding Protection Plan and is on track to meet its target of protecting its customers from the first four stages of load shedding by 2026.

In the year ahead, the City will spend R480 million on its Load shedding Protection Plan, with more than R4 billion invested in electricity grid upgrades and maintenance over the next three years.

In addition to these initiatives, there are also numerous renewable energy projects across the province, which are helping us to reduce our reliance on Eskom.

Massive energy projects like the huge solar power plant outside Somerset West which will shield us from another stage of loadshedding and add 13.5MWp to our grid. This incredible 200 solar panel project will be the Western Cape’s largest embedded generation solar project.

We’re not waiting for someone else to fix our problems; we’re rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves. We’re protecting our people, our businesses, and preparing for a prosperous future.

Let’s not be fooled by the fact that there hasn’t been much load-shedding in recent months.

The last month of no loadshedding is mainly due to lower demand on the Eskom generation system – as more and more residential and commercial properties make their own private generation plans.

Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor on average for the year 2023 was 54.69%, compared to 2024 in 53.64%. Eskom capacity is on the decline.

On 29 May, let’s switch the lights off for the ANC.

Only the DA has the track record and the vision to govern effectively and end load shedding.

And only the DA has a plan to keep delivering for the people of the Western Cape.

The Western Cape Works.

Vote to Keep the Western Cape DA.