Opening of the Landfill Gas Project

The Minister of Energy; Honourable Dipuo Peters,
Deputy Mayor of E-Thekwini, Councilor Logie Naidoo,
The French Development Bank delegate, Virginie Dago,
Distinguished guests,
Programme director
Ladies and gentlemen
All protocol observed.

President Jacob Zuma in his January 8 Statement this year said the following:
“South Africa has ongoing problems in the energy sector that requires comprehensive solutions. The problems concerning energy are broader than the huge tariff increases we have to bear. There are issues regarding our country’s energy mix, environmental sustainability, distribution mechanisms, surcharges by local municipalities and the role of private producers to address. We would be failing our people if we do not address these urgently”.

Today Programme Director, I can gladly say that this project we are launching here is intended to minimise some of the energy problems. We all remember the rolling power blackouts of 2008 and closer we are all anxious about the proposed hike in the electricity tariffs. From the recently held Copenhagen Climate Change Summit we have seen the damage being done to the environment due to the increased demand for energy. It is therefore an economic and environmental imperative that we look at alternative energy supplies.

As one of the stakeholders, the Department of Trade and Industry, the dti, has through its Critical Infrastructure Programme, provided critical financial support to the Bisasar Landfill project amounting to more than R17 million.

This is our commitment as National Government to partner with other spheres of government as well as other organizations and the private sector to initiate projects that would benefit the people of our country.

The Landfill project has created 109 job opportunities during installation of the infrastructure made up of 14 skilled, 38 semi skilled and 57 unskilled jobs. Permanent job opportunities created by the investment are 44 of which 11 are skilled and 6 people are on training for skilled positions. In addition, the project has created 23 job opportunities for the local informal settlements in the immediate area with women being in the majority. “The creation of decent work is at the centre of our efforts to address poverty and inequality (Jan 8th statement 2010)”.

I wish to congratulate the 4 black engineering students who are receiving training and bursaries because of this project, one of which is a woman. Hopefully the next project will see the reverse, 3 women and one man! I wish you well in your studies, plough back into your communities the knowledge you have gained so that others too may have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Another role of the dti is to attract investment projects that will stimulate economic growth while not harming the environment. This project fits the profile of projects targeted by the dti, in that it destroys the harmful gas while providing additional energy to the grid and enabling the Municipality to generate additional revenue through the sale of energy and carbon credits.

Ladies and gentlemen, our partnership with Municipalities is geared towards attracting investment projects to the different local Municipalities to achieve an even distribution of economic opportunities. Since inception in 2002, the Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP) has disbursed approximately R729 million in financial supports to 29 investment projects in different sectors ranging from; mining, automotives, manufacturing, metals and tourism.

Other than eThekwini Municipality, the Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP) has also supported Mpofana and Kwadukuza Municipalities with different infrastructure projects in support of investment in their localities. While infrastructure supported is critical to investment projects, it is also an investment in the upgrading of public infrastructure. Everyone will benefit, not only the private sector. We can see this from the large infrastructure projects taking place due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Ladies and gentleman I would believe that this is just the start to many projects of this kind. I urge all those involved to look at replicating this project in other provinces, it makes economic sense and it makes environmental sense. Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, as government we have to see that the money is always used to the advantage of all our people but mostly to those who are most vulnerable. We need to create more opportunities for women and unemployed graduates in projects such as these.
Thank you.

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