Selected Energy

Committee roasts CEF over solar heaters 

Oct 19 2010 18:58 Sapa


Cape Town - The head of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) received a roasting from members of Parliament's energy portfolio committee on Tuesday.

Committee chair Elizabeth Tabethe told CEF chief executive Mputumi Damane he had "deliberately misled" MPs when he had appeared before them last year, and reported on a rollout of solar water heaters in municipalities.

Her harsh words for the fund's senior executive came after committee members challenged Damane to explain why he had told them, last November, that the heaters were being installed in Ekurhuleni Municipality.

"There is no way you can come and twist words here... you are trying to protect yourself. There was no misunderstanding... You said [at the time] they were being rolled out. We asked where, and you said Ekurhuleni."

Tabethe said the explanation Damane was now offering to the committee was totally unacceptable. MPs had determined no solar water heaters had in fact been installed.

"There should be a better explanation why those solar water heaters were not installed in Ekurhuleni," she told him.

A clearly distressed Damane responded that he was "at a loss" to explain, before admitting that there had been no roll out of the heaters in Ekurhuleni because there was no signed agreement with the municipality.

Thabethe then said there was no way the committee was going to accept the CEF's 2009/10 report, and the matter would now be taken up with the department and the minister.

"It is quite a serious matter that we have to engage with the minister and check the level of damage, if there is, to service delivery.
"Because we have commitments... from the Kyoto Protocol, from the Copenhagen Accord, and made by the president of this country, that we are going to do this.

"And if the CEF, a state organ, is not doing what it is supposed to do, then there is a problem," she said.

Government has committed to fitting one million solar water heaters to homes across the country by 2014.

Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling said there appeared to be a "whole lot of institutional problems" when it came to the rollout of solar water heaters and energy efficiency systems.

"What I'm hearing, three years down the line since we made a target of one million solar water heaters... is we're nowhere near that target," he said.

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