While sitting during one of the most recent load-shedding episodes lets you reflect on Energy! While the fan of your notebook is humming and light from the screen is the only source of light next to the odd candle-stump that was recruited from the kitchen-drawer and two Consul Solar Jars, a wedding present that moved only recent into the focus of appreciation.
While the South African government is happily burning billions of Rand of Tax Payers’ money for the two latest “White Elephants” named Medupi and Kusile, our neighbours have shifted their focus.
Why don’t you hear anything about the building of coal fired power plants in the news?
Simply for one reason: gloves are off and the focus lies – almost solely – on Solar, Wind and Hydro Power – or even Liquefied Natural Gas.
While one South African Minister signs happily cheque after cheque to be posted to Lephalale and Witbank … sorry, eMalahleni … the inner circle of government has already realised that this will not help the electricity shortage and sign something else instead, a power purchase agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo to buy in future 2.5 MW, generated by their Hydro Power Plant on the Congo River!
Parallel to that the frequently changing Ministers of Energy pat themselves on their back for having invented a procurement mechanism for Renewable Energy that will now be adopted in other areas of infrastructure. Hello? Somebody out there? There is nothing to be proud of, especially not of a legal framework that was flawed from the beginning, drives the cost to tender over the half million US Dollar line and has made the financial closing so difficult that the usual investors rather invest somewhere else.
But Energy is also what one must have in the sense of perseverance. The latest strikes are over – for now – but the economy and with her especially the Rand – are far from recovering.
The Time to Go Green is Now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ralph M Ertner, born in 1965, is the founder and current CEO of the INTO SA Group. His career started at Deutsche Bank Berlin, where he was trained in and later responsible for asset and portfolio management. He went on to study law at the Free University of Berlin. After gaining experience at the law firms of Neuendorff & Partner (Berlin), Heussen Braun von Kessel (Munich) and Jan S De Villiers (Cape Town) as well as Van der Spuy (Cape Town) he decided in 1995 to stay in South Africa permanently. Two years later he obtained the degree of Master of Laws at the University of Cape Town (UCT). With his specialist knowledge in commercial law, financial and international tax matters, Ralph Ertner specialises in Immigration and Black Empowerment Law and contributes his energy and expertise to the benefit of INTO SA’s corporate clients in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ralph Ertner is author of eight books on legal investment conditions in South Africa, among them Tax Law: A Guideline for Investors and Investing in South Africa Opportunities and Risks in the 21st Century. Furthermore is he the author of several articles in the national and international media. He is a past member of the Regional Council of the South African German Chamber of Commerce in Cape Town and currently Director of the Austrian Business Chamber and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg as well as the Founder and Past President of various Rotary Clubs.