Speech by Mokgothu Seadimo during the debate on the National Energy Bill

21 August 2008

Honourable Members, it is imperative to acknowledge that the consistent growth and development of the South African economy remains fragile in the absence of an integrative energy security legislative tool. We must also acknowledge as progressive South Africans that our development agenda will be hamstrung if the State does not provide a blueprint for energy security. It is within this context that the significance of the National Energy Bill should be seen. As part of the global community and being affected by external economic shocks (escalating crude oil prices), we should develop our own institutional mechanisms to mitigate the worst scenario possible. The Energy Bill provides pre-emptive tools as it addresses the following; energy research, diversity of energy supply, energy infrastructure planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, development of local energy production, setting of standards and specifications.

In my engagement with the content of the Bill, I will confine myself to Chapter 2 which deals with energy supply, optimization and utilization. In terms of provision of data and access to data sources, the Bill empowers the Minister to establish mechanisms for the provision of any data and information that is required for the purposes of energy modeling and planning. It also allows the Minister to establish mechanisms to collect, collate and analyse energy data and information and avail energy statisitics and information. In terms of transparency and accountability, the Minister must annually publish an analysis that reviews energy demand and supply of the previous year. The same analysis will include the forecasting of energy demand and supply for no less than 20 years and it must provide possible future energy scenarios.

Furthermore, the Bill provides that the Minister must publish models used for data and information analysis. It also provides for the Minister to consult with the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Labour, and Environmental Affairs and Tourism to adopt measures to mitigate the negative safety, health, and environmental impacts of energy carriers.

In concretizing the RDP's proclamation on energy sources, the Bill provides for the Minister to adopt measures that provide for the universal access to appropriate forms of energy or energy carriers for all South Africans at affordable prices. As the ANC-led government, we are resolute in achieving social justice and improving the quality of life of the masses of our people, hence we maintain that the poor households should receive Free Basic Electricity. This piece of legislation provide for this policy position.In the advancement of the developmental state's agenda, it is important to have a strong state with the capacity to execute its strategic developmental tasks. Strengthening the state by retaining particular strategic tasks will go a long way in putting the foundations for a truly developmental state that will lead and manage strategic areas (energy security included) for sustained economic development.

The ANC supports the Bill!

I thank you!