Vice President David Mabuza has assured parliamentarians that there are no plans to privatize the national energy company Eskom.

“The government’s policy options and positions have not reached the point where privatization is seen as the answer to providing better solutions to the current challenges facing Eskom,” he said.

The Deputy President answered questions for oral answer in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Questions put to the Vice President by members of political parties represented in Parliament were about Eskom, measures being taken to stop illegal mining and the outcome of the recent community land summit.

He said the government is working round the clock to make Eskom a more efficient and effective state-owned energy generation and transmission utility with the necessary capabilities to ensure security and stability of energy supply for the benefit of the economy and human development.

Instead, the vice president said the utility, which continues to struggle with capacity constraints, is currently in the advanced stages of a demerger process that will transform the electricity sector.

“It would be inaccurate to characterize the current organizational transformation taking place at Eskom as privatization or any intention to facilitate it.”

Meanwhile, he said the government truly sympathizes with citizens as the country continues to face load shedding due to aging fleet and power plant breakdowns.

He said the state is focusing on improving maintenance and repairs to ensure increased energy availability.

However, he assured members of parliament that the plant’s maintenance and performance had nothing to do with privatization or state ownership of the utility.

Eskom is currently in the process of demerger or legal separation into three subsidiaries namely generation, transmission and distribution.

According to the Deputy President, the exercise is designed to enable Eskom to manage and focus on improving efficiency, creating greater transparency in performance and protecting against corruption to realize its potential as an independent transmission system and market operator.

He also assured parliamentarians that Eskom Holdings would fully own the new transmission company.

“His main responsibilities will include acting as an independent broker in the electricity market and encouraging capital investment in the industry and catalysing energy efficiency and spending.”

At the same time, he said the country must continue to focus on returning Eskom to optimal performance by ensuring that the organization has sound governance structures and the necessary skill levels at all levels of the power plant.

He announced that by the end of 2022, the power company is on track to separate its generation and distribution businesses, as outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Energy Plan.

“It will also meet the needs of the National Energy Plan to stimulate the economy, encourage industrialization and ensure security of residential electricity supply. Therefore, privatization of Eskom is not a solution,” he emphasized.

He believes the country is well on its way to returning Eskom to optimal performance by ensuring the company has a sound governance structure and the necessary skills are in place at the power plants.

“We must take this opportunity to reassure every South African who will continue to work hard to ensure access to reliable electricity so they can fulfill their needs and develop the hopes and dreams we have set for ourselves as a nation.”

“There is no question of privatization,” he added. –

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