The mining industry is once again coming to South Africa’s economic rescue. Earlier this year, it surprised on the upside by giving the fiscus mountain-high taxes at the height of the Covid crisis, and now, as the year comes to a close, it is offering to deliver R60-billion worth of additional electricity – 3 900 MW of renewable sun and wind electricity, free of charge.
All Minerals Council South Africa’s members are requesting is that government remove some of its customary red tape. Mining is requesting materially shorter environmental authorisations, less bureaucratically complex electricity wheeling, and easier surplus power offtake arrangements – mere paperwork.
Eskom needs up to 6 000 MW of additional generating capacity to provide the scope it needs to conduct maintenance effectively, and mining’s offer takes it two-thirds of the way. Government should see this as the manna from heaven that it is and for a change replace the red tape with the red carpet.