Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza will on Wednesday outline the current status of electricity supply in the country.

Gordhan and Mabuza will brief the media at an Eskom power station outside Johannesburg, whose identity has not been disclosed "for security reasons".

Last month, Eskom said the country's power crunch was largely due to a lack of maintenance of the utility's ageing infrastructure.

It acknowledged this after implementing rotational load shedding which involved suppressing up to 4 000 MW of demand at a given time to avoid overwhelming the national power grid. This move crippled many businesses that had to close during power cuts.

Eskom has several plants over 35 years old which have struggled to generate enough power supply to meet demand, a crisis likely to hurt economic growth.

Gordhan said last month it was going to be a huge struggle to overcome the crisis.

"We understand the frustration. We don't have a magic formula," he told a news conference, noting that while Eskom had 48 000 MW of installed capacity, only 28 000 MW was available.

Gordhan and Mabuza also conceded at that conference that the power utility had not spent enough on maintaining its equipment over the past five years, while new plants Medupi and Kusile had not come on stream.

Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of South Africa's electricity needs, has struggled with financial constraints over the years partly blamed on mismanagement and corruption which has seen some senior executives forced out.

African News Agency/ANA