- South African President Thabo on Friday delivered the much anticipated state of nation address, apologising the nation for the troubles caused by the power crisis. He allayed fears that the power crisis would hamper his country's hosting of the World Cup in 2010.
President assured his government’s resolve to address all its compelling challenges "in a relatively short period."
"It is... necessary to take this opportunity to convey to the country the apologies of both the government and [state power utility] Eskom for the national emergency," he said thanking South Africans for their "resilience and forbearing".
"In essence, the significant rise in electricity demand of the last two years has outstripped the new capacity we have brought on stream."
"We face an emergency but we can overcome the problems in a relatively short period," Mbeki said, adding that blackouts should be seen as a challenge to South Africa to become more energy efficient.
Mbeki said the government was employing concrete steps to tackle the energy crisis. This includes focus on reducing consumer demand and investing in the longer-term in new generation capacity.
"On the supply side, Eskom is working furiously to ensure the introduction of co-generation projects as a matter of urgency," he told Parliament.
"We are taking steps to enhance Eskom's maintenance capacity. We have emergency task teams dealing with the challenge of coal quality and supply ... and we are working to fast-track the approval and construction of gas turbine projects."
"I am aware of the fact that many in our society are troubled by a deep sense of unease about where our country will be tomorrow," Mbeki told parliament in Cape Town. These concerns include power crisis and high cost of living.
"I have absolutely no doubt that we will honour our undertaking to FIFA and the world community of soccer players and lovers to create all the necessary conditions for the holding of the best ever FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament," he said.
President Mbeki had received several calls from investors to remedy the looming blackouts, which took great toll on gold and platinum mining.
He expressed the government's commitment to defeat poverty, provide universal access to water, sanitation and electricity by 2014. It will also boost implementation of programs geared towards combating HIV/AIDS.
The new leader of the governing African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, has hailed Mbeki for delivering a speech full of positive indication.
President Mbeki's audience included his almost 90-year-old mother who expects truth as the only birthday present from South African leaders.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.