Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila has said that the power crisis is being politicised. Speaking at a rally held in Jwaneng over the weekend, Mokaila said he was not shaken as he and the government know what they were doing.
Explaining the power crisis, Mokaila said Morupule B has problems with its boilers. “We have engaged a team of experts to fix the problem; I can assure Batswana that we will go into the winter season with adequate power supply. I am not shaken by what is being said, the plant is going to work and serve Batswana efficiently. We will make sure that by the end of April the two boilers will be working efficiently. We have come a long way, people should relax,” he said.
Briefing Parliament on Morupule B yesterday (Monday), Mokaila said Unit 1 was the only one running and would be taken out of service for boiler modifications once the other three units are back into full service. He said the repairing of Unit 3 was complete and is expected to be brought into service by the end of this month while Unit 2 has been modified as per the recommendations of the designers and is expected to be brought back in service by the end of April. The Minister said Unit 4 had been shut down because of boiler tube leaks.
Mokaila’s brief was in part a response to concerns raised by the leader of opposition and member of parliament for Gaborone central Dumelang Saleshando, “these power cuts are a result of leadership failure, the government made a number of false promises which they never delivered on, we came with a proposal on how this should be addressed. We are feeling the pinch. We have an interest to run this country and we want to find this country in a good state,” had said.
President Seretse Khama Ian Khama has also slammed opposition parties for saying they enjoy it when there is a crisis in the country. “Opposition parties are praying that Mokaila fails simply because they want to attack the Government. They are only interested in using the crisis to gain votes. I have listened to Mokaila’s explanation of the load shedding and it is fair. It is unfortunate that whenever there is a crisis opposition celebrates. When there is no rain they also celebrate and blame the BDP, they even forget that rain comes naturally. To me these are terrible people who cannot fight for their country. This is not how politics should run. We are not supposed to celebrate when electorates suffer,” Khama said.
Khama also blamed contractors. “Through tendering we give contractors work to do but sometimes some of these contractors disappoints us. When that happens we call those contractors to do the job again but if they continue to fail that is when we can opt for another contractor to assist. That is the situation with Morupule B and I can assure each one of you that we will repair it. As the President, I am the only one who can promise you anything and I will not make empty promises like the opposition parties,” he said.
Meanwhile Saleshando has expressed gratitude that some answers have been provided by the Minister Mokaila “We are grateful that our statement has forced the Minister out of the darkness and update the house about the power situation in the country. It is a much better response than the previous one where he risked embarrassing himself and the government when he said things like we cannot pursue solar energy solutions because after sunset during peak hour it cannot operate which was a very unfortunate statement from a Minister leading government portfolio on power,” Saleshando said.
UDC member of parliament Wynter Mmolotsi said he was concerned that some units were stripped to service other units wondering whether spare parts would have arrived by the end of April but said it was pleasing to hear the update “I am thankful that the Minister was in position to give assurance even though when the crisis started he said he could not give any assurance since the government did not control the machines,” he said