President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

Johannesburg - Stage 4 load shedding implemented by power utility Eskom last month was bad for South Africa's economy and livelihoods, and should not happen again, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa made his remarks during a dialogue with community members in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Thursday evening. Ramaphosa said Eskom is the country's current ''headache.''

''Each morning when I wake up I get information from [Public Enterprises] Minister [Pravin] Gordhan updating me how the power grid looks like ... he gets the information and beams it to me ... each time I see green and a bit of surplus I breath easy.''

''Eskom holds our livelihoods in its hands. We need to restructure Eskom but the big challenge is finance. Eskom is our only state company that has racked up R300 billion in debt ... that is too much. 

"Stage 4 was bad, we need to make sure it never happens again in South Africa. It was bad ... bad for the economy and our livelihoods. Of course we should have known, but it shouldn't happen again.''

The struggling power utility implemented rolling stage 4 power cuts last month as it struggled to meet electricity demand in the middle of summer. 

Briefing journalists at the Lethabo power station on Wednesday, Gordhan said government now had a better understanding of the challenges plaguing Eskom. 

He said a plan was being implemented up to September to reduce power plant breakdowns and to stop, or minimise, rotational load-shedding to at least Stage 1 as demand for power intensified during the winter season.

African News Agency/ANA