Coronavirus: Mantashe issues guidelines for energy, petroleum sectors

The construction of renewable energy power plants and Eskom’s new build programme which includes power stations Medupi and Kusile, will officially be allowed during lockdown, according to guidelines issued by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

The guidelines, published on Friday, provide for the continuous supply of energy and petroleum products during the lockdown, as per the regulations gazetted on 29 April. They also allow for the maintenance and construction of energy projects, while adhering to strict safety, hygiene, sanitisation and social distancing protocols, the department said.

When the lockdown was instituted on 26 March to slow down the spread of Covid-19, activity across multiple industries had to shut down, with exception to a few deemed essential services. As the lockdown has progressed, government has slowly lifted restrictions on economic activity, allowing additional services to come back on stream.

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As per the directions, civil engineering for public works projects are allowed and apply to those under the renewable energy independent power producer programme, the Eskom new build programme and liquid petroleum gas projects, among others. It also applies to nuclear projects which are under maintenance and construction in power stations and other nuclear facilities, the department said.

Energy construction work which has already been priced and awarded government tenders can also resume.

Professional entities which provide licences, approvals or authorisation for the maintenance and construction of energy projects may also operate.

All professional planning, costing and design work that supports construction work on sites, is also allowed.

Notably, all contracted suppliers, contractors and consultants who need to travel across borders to attend to projects, can now do so. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter previously told Parliament that contractors required from abroad to assist in maintenance of some plants could not travel to South Africa due to the lockdown.

Compiled by Lameez Omarjee

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