South Africa has received the first batch of Chinese generators Cape Town, South Africa. © Getty Images / Mlenny

South Africa has received a shipment of 450 gasoline generators donated by China to ease the impact of severe power shortages in the country, local media reported on Thursday.

According to Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, about 100 more generators are expected to arrive in the near term.

The equipment will be distributed to public service facilities across the country, according to an earlier statement from the government.

“The generators will be used as backup to alleviate the impacts of load-shedding in the delivery of services in clinics, schools and courts, while the government continues to implement the energy action plan to ultimately end load-shedding and create sustainable energy security.”

The donation is a part of the Technical Assistance Program, which covers a raft of deals inked between Beijing and Pretoria on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg this past August. Apart from a donation of power-generating equipment worth $8.9 million, the program includes a grant of around $26.8 million intended to upgrade South Africa’s power transmission and distribution network.

South Africa has been grappling with a power crisis for years, with its state utility Eskom struggling to fully supply electricity due to frequent breakdowns at its coal-fired power stations, which led to record power cuts earlier this year.

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Some experts note that there may be a deeper meaning to China helping South Africa overcome its energy crisis, despite Ramokgopa stating in an earlier interview that there are “no strings attached” to the program.

“I don’t think there are strings attached, but there are expectations attached, and it is done with these expectations to oil the wheels of future business… I think this is more of a political signal. A signal that China is interested in cooperation with South Africa, that they have business interests here and want to expand those interests,” energy analyst Chris Yelland told 702 radio station.

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