Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - There is no quick fix to the current load shedding crisis, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said, as reports surfaced that Eskom was preparing to implement even more crippling power cuts. 

The state-owned power utility, however, has issued a statement saying there are no immediate plans to implement Stage 5 and 6 load shedding at this time.

The minister, along with Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, on Tuesday briefed the nation on the crisis at the struggling utility which has seen most of its antiquated power plants unable to function optimally. 

Mabuza admitted that most of the problems were due to a lack of maintenance, while Gordhan said that they would have a clearer picture of the scope of the problem in 10 to 14 days, once engineers have completed their assessments.

The power utility posted a clarification on Twitter in which it said the misunderstanding stemmed from a question raised during the briefing when a question was raised about "what will happen beyond stage 4 load shedding?" 

Eskom posted this clarification on Twitter after reports circulated that Stage 5 and 6 load shedding could be looming.

The response was that there were "contingencies in place to ensure the stability and integrity of the power system" should the need arise to implement harsher power cuts.

"The response was certainly not meant to indicate that Eskom is formally planning to implement stages 5 or beyond - but merely to indicate that the necessary contingency planning is in place," the utility's tweet said.

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