S. African president says electricity crisis continues to undermine economic growth

JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that the electricity crisis in the country continues to undermine economic growth and investment.

"Load shedding damages businesses, disrupts households, compromises the provision of social services, and affects the safety and well-being of the people," Ramaphosa, also president of South Africa's ruling party African National Congress (ANC), made the remarks at the ANC's National Executive Council lekgotla.

"Resolving the energy crisis and putting an end to load shedding is one of our most immediate and pressing challenges," he said.

As a result of load shedding, companies are reluctant to invest, productivity is dampened, economic growth cannot be sustained, and jobs cannot be created on the necessary scale, said Ramaphosa.

He noted that they have signed agreements with independent power producers for 26 renewable energy projects, which will generate around 2,800 megawatts (MW) of power; they are also negotiating to import 1,000 MW from neighboring countries.

Some of the power stations which are reaching the end of their lives will be repurposed from coal to renewables, added the president.

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