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  • Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is “enthused” by the prospect of gas discoveries, as it will attract foreign investment.
  • The gas industry, which is currently being developed, will support the country’s energy transition in a big way, he said.
  • Domestic gas resources will eliminate the need for imports, he adds.

Discovering gas on South African shores is one of the things that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is “enthused” by, because it will attract foreign investment.

The minister on Wednesday was responding to questions in the National Assembly about the development of the gas industry.

“All that [gas discoveries] encourages me because it will save us from importing all the basic inputs into the economy,” said Mantashe.

“I am not one of those people who sees foreign investment as an enemy of the country. I want the investment in the country,” he said.

The minister emphasised that foreign investment is needed for the economy to grow.

“It is quite a strange philosophy that foreign direct investment is the enemy … It is not the enemy, it must be attracted,” he added.

The minister has previously spoken out against objectors of oil and gas development.


Gas is ‘unfolding’ 

According to the minister, the gas industry is “unfolding” and has been recognised by Europe as one of the resources, alongside nuclear, which can support the energy transition. “We swam against the stream of people who just declared war on anything that looks like fossil fuel and therefore declared their interest in destroying the gas industry,” said Mantashe.

“The gas industry will be with us in the transition, in a big way.”

Last year the minister announced the preferred bidders of bid window five of the renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. They will supply 2 600 MW of renewable energy. Bid windows six and seven will be launched this year. Collectively 7 800 MW of renewable energy will be procured from all three bid windows.

Renewable energy will have to be supplemented by other technology – namely gas, Mantashe explained.

Mantashe added that it is essential to invest in gas infrastructure to develop the industry, as the country did when it first developed the renewable energy industry.