File picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his concern at Eskom's inability to ensure regular supply of electricity as the power utility has implemented stage four load shedding.

Eskom took South Africans by surprise when it announced that it would be implementing load shedding. The biggest shock came when the utility announced on Monday that it would up the pressure on citizens by implementing stage six.

South Africans active on social media took out their frustration at the silence from the government and especially from Ramaphosa. His statement on Tuesday morning follows the outcry.

Ramaphosa said he was concerned about the developments especially as in some areas they have been compounded by poor weather conditions.

The president said he was in constant contact with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on what is being done to stabilize the power supply.

“The ongoing load shedding is devastating for the country. It is causing our economy great harm and disrupting the lives of citizens. The extreme weather in several parts of the country over the last week has compounded the problems of an electricity grid that was already under great strain. Our immediate priority is to get as much generating capacity back on line within the shortest possible time. Eskom’s emergency response command centre and technical teams are working around the clock to fix multiple breakdowns,” Ramaphosa said.

“The anger and frustration that this load shedding has caused is understandable. It is essential at this time that all stakeholders work together to restore adequate supply of electricity in the shortest time. We call on all South Africans, especially energy intensive users, to reduce consumption at this time.”

Ramaphosa said the government has taken steps to ensure power supply stability in the long-term.

“Government has taken far-reaching and necessary decisions to ensure the sustainable security of energy supply. As we confront the immediate challenges, we are working to put these long term solutions in place.The energy challenges in this country will not be resolved overnight. We have set out on a bold path of restructuring and rebuilding. Despite the setbacks of the past week, we are making progress and will steadily begin to see the fruits of these efforts.”

Political Bureau