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Mantashe says special Cabinet meeting will consider IRP update after Ministers request time to ‘apply their minds’

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

Photo by Creamer Media Chief Photographer Donna Slater

30th November 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe confirmed that an update of the Integrated Resource Plan, which he has previously dubbed ‘IRP2023’, had served before Cabinet on November 29, but that his Ministerial colleagues had requested more deliberation time before approving the document for public consultation.

Speaking in Pretoria at a briefing held to announce the identities of four battery storage preferred bidders, as well as to sign agreements opening the way for a hybrid solar/battery project, Mantashe also stated the IRP would be considered at a special Cabinet meeting scheduled for the coming week.

Earlier, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, in her role as Cabinet spokesperson, refused to be drawn on whether the IRP was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

She also refused to be drawn on whether the IRP would be on the agenda of the upcoming special Cabinet meeting, indicating only that Cabinet was not able to address all the issues it had hoped to at its eight-hour meeting on Wednesday.

However, Mantashe confirmed that the plan had indeed been “tabled” on November 29 but that the Ministers requested more time to “apply their minds” to the document.

Previous iterations of the IRP have been drafted primarily by Eskom, but the drafting this time appears to have been driven primary by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, involving Eskom employees seconded to the department.

Mantashe objected to suggestions that the document was delayed, noting that the IRP2010 was updated only nine years after its initial publication, with the current version known as IRP2019.

The document is meant to be a so-called “living” plan, however, with many commentators arguing that it should be updated at least every two years given ongoing changes to the demand and technology cost assumptions that underpin the plan.

Mantashe also revealed that he would attend the special Cabinet meeting after participating in a session at the COP28 climate conference, which is currently under way in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He indicated that he had been invited directly by the COP28 president, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, to participate in a panel discussion.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to lead South Africa’s delegation to COP28, and will participate on December 1 and 2, after which Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy will stay on until December 12 to lead the country’s participation at the conference.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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