The Presidency and National Treasury recently released the third and fourth quarter progress report of Operation Vulindlela.
Operation Vulindlela was launched in 2020 and is an initiative between Treasury and the Presidency aimed at, among other things, accelerating the implementation of structural reforms and to support South Africa’s economic recovery.
The five desired outcomes of Operation Vulindlela are:
- Stabilising of the electricity supply.
- Reduce cost and increased quality of digital communications.
- Sustainable water supply to meet demand.
- Competitive and efficient freight transport.
- A visa regime that attracts skills and grows tourism.
National Treasury’s Nomvuyo Guma said: “In the time that Operation Vulindela has been in operation, we’ve been able to make significant progress in accelerating these reforms”.
The key achievements for quarters three and four are:
- Analogue switch-off was completed for all frequencies above 694 Megahertz to enable the use of spectrum for mobile telecommunications. This key reform will improve network quality, reduce data costs and expand digital access.
- The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill is on track in the National Assembly, with hearings completed in all provinces. The Bill represents a fundamental reform of the energy sector, and will establish a competitive energy market.
- Three units at Kusile power station were returned to service ahead of schedule. This additional capacity has enabled a reduction in the severity of load shedding, with work underway to complete the remaining units at Kusile and Medupi power stations in 2024.
- Eskom launched the Cross Border Standard Offer Programme. This programme enables Eskom to purchase up to 1 000 Megawatts power of power on a short-term basis from utilities and Independent Power Producers in neighbouring countries.
- The Minister of Public Enterprises announced the appointment of a permanent board for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). This will replace the current interim board and is a crucial step in the process of establishing the TNPA as a subsidiary of Transnet.
- An international terminal operator was selected to partner with Transnet at the Durban Pier 2 container terminal. This will crowd-in private investment and management expertise to improve the performance of South Africa’s largest container terminal.
- The Department of Home Affairs launched the Trusted Employer Scheme, which is a key recommendation of the work visa review. The scheme will allow major investors and large employers to follow a streamlined process with improved turnaround times.
- A One Stop Shop was established for energy projects to accelerate private investment. The One Stop Shop will facilitate regulatory authorisations for energy projects, with the aim of establishing a single, fully electronic application process.
Planning long term
Looking at the overall achievements of Operation Vulindela over the past three years, Guma said government’s “legislative agenda has continued to make progress”.
“We’ve made some regulatory changes to allow private investment in electricity generation. We are currently tracking an energy pipeline of renewables that is up to 66GW at this stage. From an investment point of view, what we’ve tracked is a pipeline of over R200 billion worth of investments.”
Turning to telecommunications, Guma said the spectrum auction concluded last year has “resulted in an immediate boost of R14 billion to the fiscus” also resulted in the increased download and “increased investments into the sector”.
Guma said a comprehensive review of the work visa system and the revised immigration regulations has also been completed.
Other achievements since the launch of Operation Vulindela are:
- The National Rail Policy adopted to guide the modernisation and reform of the rail sector, including third-party access to the network.
- Backlog of water use licenses has been cleared and license application system re-engineered, unlocking billions of Rands in investment.
- Private sector participation introduced in container terminals, to crowd in investment and improve the efficiency of port operations.
- eVisa system expanded to 34 countries, with almost all countries now covered by either a visa waiver or eVisa.
- Legislative reforms underway to create a transport economic regulator, reform the electricity sector, and establish a National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency.
The full progress report can be accessed at https://www.stateofthenation.gov.za/operation-vulindlela