President Jacob Zuma officially opened one of six generating units at Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo, on Sunday.
The power station that was supposed to be completed in 2015 has officially brought on unit six commercially, which will add 800 megawatts (MW) to the country’s strained electricity grid.
Once complete in 2019, Medupi will add 4 764 MW to Eskom’s grid and will bring its total capacity from its current 41 194MW to 45 958 MW.
Eskom’s Integrated Annual Results presentation on 11 August 2015 revealed that the completion of Medupi had been revised from 2017 to 2019, with Kusile revised from 2019 to 2021.
Zuma told guests at Medupi on Sunday that the unveiling of Unit 6 “is proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel”.
In the construction of Medupi, SA companies were prioritised in supplying goods as well as Skills development in various engineering fields, he said.
“Medupi has changed Lephalele’s fortunes as the town’s gross domestic product is increasing by 95% a year,” he said. “Medupi a living example of our infrastructure projects that stimulate local economies.”
“The operation of unit 6 is a demonstration that this project is making progress,” he said. “Its impact is already being felt across SA.”
The African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday welcomed the official opening of Medupi Unit 6, which was first synchronised to the national grid on 2 March 2015.
“At a time of increased energy scarcity for South Africa we welcome the addition of this new generation capacity that is so critical to growing our economy,” says ANC Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.
He added that as consumption levels rise, the delivery of electricity remained key to building a more socially inclusive society.
“Access to electricity doesn’t just grow businesses, it also lifts millions of people out of poverty,” said Kodwa.
The ANC further welcomes investment in power infrastructure that accelerates economic development and continues to move South Africa Forward.