Eskom implemented Stage 6 load shedding on Monday, and had everyone scrambling to check their schedules. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said on Monday night that Eskom's announcement that the country would move to stage 6 loadshedding was a threat to national stability. 

He called on president Cyril Ramaphosa and energy minister Gwede Mantashe to cease with their respective "platitudes" and "dithering" when it came to embattled power producer Eskom, which had earlier in the evening announced stage six. 

"The country is asking what exactly is going on, and we deserve full transparency on this threat to national stability.

"In these extraordinary circumstances, we call for parliament to urgently be reconvened in order for president Ramaphosa to address parliament and the nation on this escalating crisis. The president must come clean on exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them within the coming days. 

"In this light, the president should swiftly postpone his upcoming international trip to Egypt, scheduled for tomorrow, 10 December. There is severe trouble at home, and Ramaphosa must attend to that ahead of all other engagements," said Steenhuisen. 

The situation was "dire", said Steenhuisen, and escalating daily. 

"Despite this, minister Mantashe is sitting with at least seventeen section 34 applications for private generation and purchase of electricity on his desk waiting to be signed – from municipalities, mines and corporations. If the minister signed just one of these applications he would signal to the market that the door is open for Independent Power Producers (IPPs), ensuring cheaper and more secure energy is available to consumers.

"However, Mantashe refuses, and remains the single biggest obstacle in the way of genuine reform of electricity generation and supply, leaving South Africans at the complete mercy of the moribund Eskom. If the president cannot instruct Mantashe to act now, in the interests of the nation, then he should replace him as energy minister."

South Africa’s only hope was for government to start planning for a post-Eskom future, said Steenhuisen, which was why the DA-led City of Cape Town was taking Mantashe to court to compel him to allow the city to purchase energy directly from IPPs. "Instead of stifling these applications, and with them any prospect of economic growth, Mantashe should immediately release the next call for IPPs."

"South Africa and its sustainability cannot be held ransom to the outdated ideologies that clearly dominate Mantashe's mind. The old ways will no longer do, only innovation and new ideas are going to rescue our future."

African News Agency (ANA)