Budget Vote 28 -
Energy

 

Speech by Mr Eric Lucas MP
 

National Assembly: 20 April 2010

 

Honourable Speaker

 

Long gone are the days of cheap, available and bounteous energy resources, decisions must be taken as a matter of urgency to develop the technology and infrastructure necessary to transition to alternative energy sources. We need to embrace the new future of energy, a future that does not rely solely on finite scarce resources.

 

In this vein the IFP believes that the Department should make a substantial investment into the research and development of clean alternative energy production.

 

Our current reality dictates that coal must be used in order to meet the necessary energy demands required in our country. In the short term we have no other viable alternative and we are therefore duty bound to investigate the most environmentally friendly manner in which we convert our coal supplies to energy. Is this one of our priorities Minister?

 

Regarding alternate energy production methods such as the nuclear path, the department should embark on educational programmes which allay public fears regarding its production, containment and waste disposal as this is one of the viable alternatives for South Africa in the future.

 

We have expended large amounts of money in research and development on the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor programme. Has this programme been brought to an abrupt halt? What about the time and money spent by NECSA up to this point?

We need to make decisions on energy production systems and once taken, follow them through to completion. Failure to do so can result in third parties buying our developments and Ideas and then re-selling them back to us at greater prices in the future when we deem them fashionable once again.

 

We also task the Department to not paying mere lip service to wind, solar and water energy as possible future methods in the production of this country's energy requirements. Clean energy should be our ultimate goal, it should be pursued intensively and with something a little more substantive than a mere 7% of the budget.

 

The current cost of electricity is nothing short of ludicrous, it impacts our entire society negatively in that it not only has a direct burden effect upon our citizens in that they pay more for household electricity, but that it also has the indirect effect of pushing up the prices of goods and services within the country which ultimately the consumer has to pay for once again.

 

It is a disgrace that we are able import electricity far more cheaply from our neighbour Mozambique.

 

Likewise the cost of fuel, which also appears to be on the increase, will severely impact the lives of the poorest members of our society, driving them even deeper into the depths of poverty. Whilst we do understand that the price of crude oil is determined beyond our borders we also believe that the department can still do something to protect end-users. Internal fuel levies and taxes can and should be adjusted in order to protect the ordinary man in the street from steep price hikes.

 

On the more positive side of things we commend the Department on its establishment of a separate department which would enable greater attention to be focused on energy supply. This is a step in the right direction and the IFP feels that more of such initiatives should be identified and undertaken.

 

Minister, we are currently in an energy crisis of massive proportions and uncertain times might call for unconventional measures - explore alternatives, step out onto that limb, there is a viable solution out there.

 

The IFP will be keeping a watchful eye on all developments.

 

We support the vote.

 

I thank you.

 

Contact:
Mr Eric Lucas MP
082 557 2481