by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa believes Operation Vulindlela is opening the path to South Africa’s economic growth.
Loosely translating to “Pave the Way” the operation was set up in October 2020 as an initiative of the Presidency and National Treasury to accelerate structural reforms in some network industries.
These include power, railways and telecommunications.
On Monday, Ramaphosa, in his weekly letter, released an update report on the work of Operation Vulindlela for the first quarter of 2022.
This includes the auction of high-demand spectrum for mobile telecommunications, which was delayed for more than ten years and finally completed in March.
“The release of new spectrum will improve connectivity and bring down broadband costs,” the president said.
He noted the establishment of the National Ports Authority as a separate subsidiary of Transnet last year had been delayed for more than 15 years.
“This was the necessary first step towards enabling private sector participation and increasing the efficiency of our port terminals,” Ramaphosa said.
He said through Operation Vulindlela, government had also been able to take a more focused and holistic approach to reforms.
In the energy sector, a number of important, interconnected reforms are underway.
Milestones include the raising of the licensing threshold for new generation projects to 100MW, allowing these projects to connect to the grid and sell power to customers.
Government has revived the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme through the opening of new bid windows.
Ramaphosa said the process of unbundling Eskom is on track, with the entity meeting its December 2021 deadline for the establishment of a National Transmission Company.
“By December this year we hope to complete the unbundling of Eskom’s generation and distribution divisions,” the president said.
In the water sector, Operation Vulindlela has been providing technical support to the Department of Water and Sanitation to implement a turnaround plan for the granting of water use licences, with a target to process 80 percent of all applications within 90 days.
The White Paper on National Rail Policy, which was approved by Cabinet in March, outlines plans to revitalise rail infrastructure and enables third‐party access to the freight rail network.
Transnet Freight Rail is already in the process of making slots available for private rail operators on the network.
A fully operational e-Visa system has been launched in 14 countries, including some largest tourist markets.
– CAJ News