Cape Town - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday announced emergency steps to prevent further stage 2 load-shedding and confirmed longer-term plans to separate the generation and distribution capacities of the power utility.
Gordhan told a media briefing at Eskom's Megawatt Park headquarters that public irritation with sustained load shedding was understandable, and the utility had cancelled senior managers' leave in a bid to keep the lights on over the festive season.
He confirmed that Medupi and Kusile power plants were not functioning optimally and said the blame should go to contractors. Chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer suggested that the company would seek answers from Hitachi, and confirmed that the cause for planned outages this week was not the company's coal shortage but the unavailability of generation plants.
Gordhan and Eskom chairman Jabu Mabuza confirmed that the company and shareholder had placed plans before rating agencies to split Eskom's generation and distribution functions as part of a future strategy to stabilise the loss-making utility.
Gordhan was emphatic that there would no privatisation, saying that was a false narrative advanced by those who wanted to undermine efforts to arrest corruption and state capture.