Government is open to engage truckers’ concerns

Pretoria – Government has taken note of the concerns raised by contracted coal transporters who disrupted traffic towards the Pretoria CBD on Wednesday morning, saying it is open to constructive engagement with the industry.

The truck drivers drove at a snail’s pace, blocking traffic on the R21, N4, N12 and the N1 highways leading in to the city on Wednesday. The drivers who are reportedly contracted to Eskom were protesting against the utility’s bid to use more renewable energy.

“Government notes the concerns of contracted coal transporters regarding the impact that renewable energy projects may have on the supply of coal to Eskom, which may affect jobs in their industry.

“Government is open to constructive engagement with the legitimate leaders of the coal trucking industry to address issues,” Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said.

At a media briefing following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting on Thursday, Minister Radebe said government must act responsibly in its energy planning to ensure sustainable and affordable energy supply.

“The system relies on a combination of base load (coal and nuclear) and intermittent supply of electricity (renewables and gas). It is clear from the draft 2016 Integrated Resource Plan that South Africa will continue to deploy coal electricity in the energy mix,” said Minister Radebe.

Last month when tabling the State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Jacob Zuma said government is now more committed to the Independent Power Producers Programme.

President Zuma said work is continuing to ensure energy security.

“Government is committed to the overall Independent Power Producers Programme and we are expanding the programme to other sources of energy including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency