PRETORIA-- South African Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says the government will sign project agreements for 27 renewable energy projects to be implemented by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) on March 13.

I am delighted to announce that the project agreements of the 27 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Projects (REIPPP), including the power purchase agreements with (power utility) Eskom, will be signed on Tuesday, 13 March 2018, with the full support of the President and my Cabinet colleagues, the Ministers of Finance and Public Enterprises as well as Eskom, he told a media briefing here Thursday.

Radebe said the announcement was a milestone following a protracted period of uncertainty and the signing of the agreements would re-confirm the government's commitment not only to renewable energy, but also to a solid partnership with the private sector in pursuing government's energy transition objectives for the future.

Radebe also said that signing of the long-awaited agreements would bring much needed policy and regulatory certainty and maintain South Africa's position as an energy investment destination of choice.

This initiative will enable 56 billion Rand (about 4.7 billion US dollars) of new investment in the economy over the next two to three years, which will immediately contribute to growth in the economy supporting the already positive achievement of 3.1 per cent GDP growth in the (2017) Quarter Four," he added.

This programme, as well as the proposed future initiatives, will have a significant contribution in job creation across the energy value chain including the re-establishment of industrial development and support to the technical training of young people to be absorbed in the labour market."

The Minister said the renewable energy programme, which is aligned to the Paris Agreement on the reduction of emissions as well as the South African environmental policy, will create thousands of jobs.

In a nutshell, these projects will provide 61,600 full time jobs of which 95 per cent is for SA citizens, mostly during plant construction, specifically with a focus on youth employment. Northern Cape Province will have 59 per cent of the jobs created, followed by Eastern Cape with 15 per cent and North West 13 per cent of jobs created, Radebe said.