Johannesburg – Energy efficiency is vital for South Africa’s economic and developmental growth, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Motlanthe was speaking at the launch of 49M – a campaign aimed at spurring South Africans to save electricity given the country’s constrained power system. The campaign, which is an Eskom initiative that has been endorsed by government as well as business, also aims to save the environment and people’s pockets.
“The energy efficiency campaign being launched today is a vital component in the country’s drive for responsible economic and developmental growth. We each have it within our power to make individual differences to energy efficiency in South Africa. Working in partnership to save energy, all South Africa’s people can guarantee a better future,” Motlanthe said on Friday.
South Africa could reap the immediate benefits for the environment in the short-term if all people consider their electricity usage.
“By taking action on a personal level to reduce waste, acting as an ‘electricity influencer’ at home and in the workplace, we can today begin the process of saving electricity and contributing to the health of our environment,” said the Deputy President.
Across the world there is an obligation to reduce emissions and develop better technology to harness power. “Reaching a happy medium between the need for electricity and the reduction of environmentally damaging emissions places South Africa in the same situation as many other nations,” he said, adding that 92 percent of South Africa’s electricity is generated by coal.
The conundrum, he said, could be solved by working with other countries to find ways to reduce emissions thereby saving the environment while on home soil, and mobilising South Africans to conserve power.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said energy was important in order to sustain one’s way of life and to grow the South Africa’s economy. “It is important to issue a clarion call to South Africans to use electricity sparingly….. to avoid load shedding,” said Gigaba.
Eskom chairman Mpho Makwana said some South Africans had already changed to fluorescent lights and keeping unused appliances off which could “have a dramatic impact”.
The 49M campaign will run for five years and also involves the use of stickers – people will be encouraged to place these at strategic places at home and work and on electrical plugs and light switches.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said: “Energy efficiency is a critical component of the energy landscape and a necessary condition to meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and economic competitiveness against a backdrop of population and demand growth.”