Cape Town - Eskom says it will continue with rolling power cuts throughout Tuesday as it struggles to recover from a series of setbacks which saw South Africans subjected to Stage 6 power cuts on Monday.
The state-owned power utility has blamed Monday's unprecedented outages on, among other things, a major fault with the power supply which feed conveyors transporting coal to the silos at its Medupi power station near Lephalale in Limpopo. Medupi, which is one of the largest power plants in the world, has been plagued with serious issues since its construction which saw building costs balloon to nearly R100 billion from an estimated R69 billion.
According to Eskom, flooding from heavy rainfall also affected operations at its Kriel and Camden power stations.
The latest round of power cuts, on the eve of the festive season, has sparked concern about the impact on small businesses and the tourism sector.
"South Africa is in deep trouble. We know there is no magic formula, and we don’t want a magic formula. What we want is a power utility that is responsibly managed, enabling South Africans to live quality lives and get on with their business enterprises," Stanford Mazhindu, the spokesperson for South Africa's oldest trade union UASA said on Monday.
In March this year, the economy lost around R12 billion during three days of power cuts, and with no end in site to the current crisis the country is edging ever closer to junk status.
"Micro businesses are hit the hardest as many cannot afford generators. Micro and medium sized business employers will soon be unable to afford to pay staff and more South Africans will join the masses of the unemployed," Mazhindu said.