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Two years until adequate power supply

Cape Town - South Africa is likely to have adequate electricity supply in around two years, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday, less than a week after the first rolling blackouts since 2008.

Eskom was forced to impose last week's supply cuts after heavy rains wet coal stockpiles at coal-fired power stations, causing a temporary supply shortfall on the already stretched national grid.

File photo: Mike Hutchings. Credit: Reuters

South Africa is building three new power stations, including two massive coal-fired plants at Medupi and Kusile, and has approved projects worth R110 billion from independent power producers to bolster energy supply.

“If we look at this package, I reckon that in the next two years or so we will have adequate electricity supply,” Gordhan told parliament during a question and answer session.

The first blackouts in six years, imposed to protect the national grid from a complete collapse by having heavy energy users cut their consumption by 10 percent, hit smaller businesses and households hard.

With two months to go to a general election, opposition parties have seized on the power cuts to attack the record of the ANC.

However, Gordhan refused to get drawn into a political argument over the issue.

“There is absolute frankness about where we stand so let us not mislead the public because it is election time,” he said.

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