Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, South Africa’s newly minted electricity minister, followed up a trip to China last week with pronouncements that the Communist Party will provide a solution for the socialist country’s collapsing power grid, which has needed planned blackouts for much of the past year.
South Africa, ruled by the radical leftist African National Congress (ANC) since the end of apartheid, has seen its electric infrastructure slowly deteriorate as a result of socialist mismanagement and corruption for the past three decades, resulting in the current situation.
The government of President Cyril Ramaphosa, through the state-run power company Eskom, declared a “national state of disaster” in February regarding the lack of power generation and has imposed rolling blackout schedules for the vast majority of the population, branded under the euphemism “load-shedding.”
The blackouts have been so severe that South Africa has reduced its carbon emissions to such a level that it is one of the world’s few countries to be exceeding onerous, climate-change-related emissions reduction goals.
The ANC has offered few solutions for the ongoing power crisis, which disproportionately affects poor South Africans as the wealthy have begun depending on private generators. The pivot to China arrives in the context of many other African nations also welcoming Chinese investment to the continent, often with disastrous results.
Under the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Communist Party has taken up infrastructure projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and many other African nations. The presence of Chinese officials and business leaders has led to mounting reports of racism against locals, including cases of Chinese businessmen whipping Rwandan laborers, gang-beating Kenyan engineers, and forcing Malawian children to film racist videos for the amusement of Chinese social media users in which they refer to themselves unknowingly, in Mandarin, as “black monsters.”
South Africa joined the Belt and Road Initiative in 2015. China is South Africa’s top trade partner.
Despite this, Ramokgopa has teased a “major grant” of Chinese money to restore the South African power grid and celebrated Shanghai Electric and the controversial tech company Huawei as potentially valuable partners, Voice of America reported this week. From Beijing, Ramokgopa claimed that he was working to build a “lasting partnership” in “energy security” with China. He described much of the partnership to focus on replacing fossil fuels with solar panels and other questionable “green” energy generation.
The electricity minister posted videos on Twitter of his visits to Shanghai Electric and Huawei, both including statements focusing on solar power.
“South Africa has abundant solar resources, making it a prime location for the development of solar energy projects,” Ramokgopa asserted from Huawei’s headquarters.
[WATCH]: The visit to Hauwei forms part of our efforts of finding solutions to reinforce the grid, South Africa has abundant solar resources, making it a prime location for the development of solar energy projects. https://t.co/vFcN0kf6dF pic.twitter.com/lyil7wqgZF
— Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa (@Kgosientsho_R) June 21, 2023
Huawei Technologies is a Chinese multinational technology corporation headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. It designs, develops, manufactures and sells telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics, smart devices and various rooftop solar products. https://t.co/06S8sjFoIw pic.twitter.com/rOs8C7QJhf
— Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa (@Kgosientsho_R) June 21, 2023
China is the world’s leader in solar panel manufacturing, thanks in large part to its thriving slave industry. As part of its ongoing genocide of Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other non-Han ethnic groups in occupied East Turkistan, the Communist Party has established a thriving slave trade in which it offers manufacturers financial incentives to use ethnic minority slaves instead of legitimate workers.
Uyghurs are sold on the heavily regulated Chinese Internet in “batches” of 50 to 100, human rights activists have revealed. Evidence suggests the solar panel industry is among the most tainted by Uyghur slave labor in China.
Ramokgopa did not express any concern about potentially bankrolling slavery. In other messages from his visit to China last week, the energy chief described conversations with Chinese government officials as “monumental.” His visit followed promises in early June that China had already offered “major” funding for rehabilitating South Africa’s power grid.
“We will be announcing a major grant that the Chinese government and its people are making available to us …So we do not get into a situation where we fail to provide our promise of uninterrupted, quality supply,” Ramokgopa said, according to South Africa’s News24. “The Chinese are the first to come back to us and say they will provide this kind of equipment like PVs,” he added, referring to solar panels.
The Chinese embassy in South Africa said in a statement to Voice of America that Beijing was preparing a “team of experts” to visit South Africa from the government’s power grid agency “to provide technical advice,” without elaborating.
The reliability of South Africa’s electricity providers plummeted in the past year, after years of mismanagement of Eskom, the state electric company, under the ANC. As with many government agencies, the ANC offered leadership positions to unqualified government cronies over engineers that could adequately maintain the system or increase the stability of the electricity being generated.
Announcing the state of disaster over the power grid in February, President Ramaphosa lamented that the government would have to ration power significantly to avoid a total breakdown. He claimed the state of disaster, which greatly expanded government power, would shorten the duration of the emergency.
“The state of disaster will enable us to provide practical measures that we need to take to support businesses in the food production, storage and retail supply chain, including for the rollout of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power supply,” Ramaphosa told citizens. “And it will enable us to accelerate energy projects and limit regulatory requirements while maintaining rigorous environmental protections, procurement principles and technical standards.”
As of April, Eskom was expecting weekly episodes of energy rationing through intentional blackouts, which it refers to as “load-shedding.” As captured on video by Breitbart News in February, “load-shedding” disproportionately affects poor South Africans, as the wealthy have responded to the inconsistent power grid by relying on private generators.
Joel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
The blackouts nonetheless have severely damaged the economy, as businesses cannot reliably know when they will be able to properly function.
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