Tshwane Mayor defends ‘catalyst’ power proposal on 30-year lease to consortium

Mayor Randall Williams. (Photo by Raymond Morare)

Mayor Randall Williams. (Photo by Raymond Morare)

  • Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams has defended supporting an investment proposal from a consortium which seeks to lease the City’s two power stations for 30 years. 
  • Opposition parties in Tshwane blocked the adoption of a report which would have allowed the proposal to be publicised for public comment. 
  • They have questioned the project and Williams’ involvement, saying they do not understand how the project would benefit the City.

Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams says the City has not determined how much it would charge a gas-producing consortium that promised to invest R26 billion if it were allowed to lease two power stations for 30 years.

Williams has been under pressure from opposition parties in Tshwane.

The mayor presented a forensic report to the council on Tuesday.

The report outlined an unsolicited bid from the Kratos consortium seeking to lease two of the City’s power stations.

The company promised 35 000 jobs would be created in the long term.

In addition, the City would benefit from the power produced by the turbines to be installed.

This would add about 800 megawatts of electricity for the City.

Williams faced accusations of being overly involved in the process after the ANC, EFF, and ActionSA released a meeting recording discussing the bid proposal.

On Tuesday, the parties said they could not vote in support of a report that did not motivate why the lease and the product offered were unique.

READ | EFF, ANC, ActionSA block plan for R26 billion unsolicited bid to ramp up Tshwane electricity

They also questioned why this proposal was being entertained without a bidding process.

The market value of the two power stations is close to R400 million.

The report does not say how much the land would be leased for, with Williams saying this information was only to be determined later once the adjudication processes were underway.

Catalyst power station takeover proposal

At a media briefing at DA headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday, Williams defended the report and the proposal offered by the consortium.

He said opposition parties had acted prematurely in not supporting the report to move forward for public comment.

The Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations have not been operational since 2014.

Williams said the City had spent R2.4 billion on salaries and maintenance, despite the power stations not producing electricity.

More than 500 people at these plants are being paid without working.

“We have paid R2.4 billion for power stations that do not produce any single electron, 550 employees that do not have a job to do that we are paying for. The ANC, ActionSA and the EFF want these employees to come to work and not do anything.

“We want them to become productive. The investment is a catalytic investment. Thousands of jobs will be created, and that would be the end of load shedding for the City of Tshwane,” he added.

READ | Power deal: Future of Tshwane mayor Randall Williams hangs in balance

The mayor said opposition parties had questioned the project too early.

He added the question of a bidding process would become relevant later if other companies had come forward while the process was being finalised.

“All we wanted on Tuesday was to get public comment on the proposed land lease on which these power stations are located.

“The lease would be to the consortium. The recommendation for public participation was step one in a series of steps that had to be taken in our law before any lease could be finalised.

“Had the report been approved, it would have required multiple legislative processes to be followed once the public participation was concluded.

“The comments would be evaluated and assessed before a final decision was taken. The question is why any party would stop the public participation process from happening,” Williams said.

The report remains in limbo as Williams faces a possible motion of no confidence, with a council meeting expected next week.