Its funny how people write that the ANC don’t know what they are doing. I think they know exactly what they are doing!
They are following a path which Italy, Greece, Syria, and many other countries have followed. It is a path of centralisation and dependence on outsiders to grow the economy. It is a path that does not need to be followed as South Africa has a wealth of resources. The only thing South Africa lacks is electricity and we currently have about half of what we should have, ie 38 GW instead of 80 GW. In the meantime China installs 1 GW a week and we constantly export jobs, production and growth to China. And then we blame China for our problems, when our problems are caused by our own myopic policies which focus on income from electricity, water, communications, petrol, etc. If our focus changed to find ways to make these items as inexpensive as possible, our economy would race ahead and the trillions of Rands of turnover and thus GDP would radically change the face of South Africa.
Three of our smelters have been closed since February whilst Eskom pays R300 million a month to these and many other companies to remain closed or to slow down production. And then we read of the massive losses in steel production and the fact that South Africa is losing worldwide market share.
The ANC are creating huge monopolies to control everything in the economy and using things like “impossible to get rebates” to slow down investment in Renewable Energy and putting things like income from electricity above economic growth. This is a very intelligent strategy, but it is also one which Italy and Greece followed for the past 20 years!
At the same time as this they are reducing the rules (standards) in the Nuclear and Fracking markets to allow this type of investment to happen, even though Renewable Energy is cheaper than Fossil Fuel Energy from Fossilised Companies intent on protecting their own interests. The reason for this is that the large energy companies, and their bankers, are scared of losing out on their massive investment in their supply pipelines. These investments span decades before they are profitable. Compare this with a photovoltaic system powered by the sun, which is profitable from the day it goes live and which may only take a week to install.
In the meantime the Japanese government has released a draft of its growth strategy, revealing its plans to create a $628 billion green energy market by 2020 through deregulation and subsidies to promote the development of renewable energy and low-emission cars. And it will employ 1.4 million people, plus all the downstream benefits due to enabling the economy to grow fast. China has already created a similar strategy. If only South Africa could have found the $1bn it needed to get the Joule electric vehicle (EV) car project on the road. And if only the ANC could climb out of its well and see the bigger picture.
South Africa should be the fastest growing economy in the world instead of languishing as the 37th fastest growing economy in Africa!!
More about Japan at http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/mixed-greens-us-navy-unveils-ambitious-green-energy-goals-54067
Many of the rebates are “impossible to get” as there are way too many sets of rules and way too many statutes to follow, eg for the R1.20 per kWh photovoltaic rebate. The USA, Germany, Spain, etc, on the other hand, have created photovoltaic specific rules, eg the USA NEC Article 690 which is a single set of rules which control the installation of PV.
As long as the South African public continue the blame game instead of taking responsibility for their own electricity provision, we will be stuck in this ridiculous situation, ie slow, stagnant growth, unnecessary unemployment, huge taxation increases in the form of electricity, water, rates, sewerage, petrol, infrastructure costs, and massive, unnecessary raw material exports, following by expensive and unnecessary imports, because we don’t have the electricity to produce finished products ourselves.
There is a massive opportunity for the South African people and SMMEs to produce their own electricity so that Eskom can supply the big companies with electricity. This will create the massive and sustainable growth South Africa can have with its associated employment and automatic education, health and infrastructure benefits that will accrue from a different way of thinking. And Eskom will still be as profitable as it is now. And the Cities also have nothing to fear as their published goals are achieved, albeit with working public-private partnerships as we work together to create a sustainable future.
The South African government views infrastructure income as its main source of funding, but infrastructure and government’s role is to “enable the economy”, just as Minister Trevor Manuel says in his National Planning Commission Report published in November 2011. If the infrastructure was cheap and efficient the economy would grow dramatically and the amount of money available for government expenditure could be five times higher than it is now. And without infrastructure borrowing; and without dependence on foreign “aid”. And at almost no cost to the fiscus. No subsidies, rebates, or incentives are required to get the Renewable Energy Industry going. And in fact, all the existing subsidies for the oil, coal, and car industries can be removed saving the fiscus even more money.
Just as in Japan, we need deregulation to allow the economy to grow.
Will we have it, or will we continue to languish as a country being raped by foreigners for its mineral and intellectual wealth?
The choice is ours. The government has made its position clear.
D a v i d Lipschitz BSc (Honours) MBA
Board Member.. Southern African Alternative Energy Association
Partnering with you on your Energy Efficiency Journey