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Load reduction targets black communities, residents north of Pretoria say

Eskom’s load reduction after a week of load shedding left some residents frustrated by the blackout. Picture: Bloomberg

Eskom’s load reduction after a week of load shedding left some residents frustrated by the blackout. Picture: Bloomberg

Published May 9, 2022

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Pretoria - Eskom’s announcing of load reduction on Saturday morning after a week of load shedding left some residents frustrated by the blackout they called "area discriminatory”.

This was after its announcing that load shedding would be suspended from 12pm on Saturday after generation units in Matla, Majuba, Grootvlei and Kendal Power stations, as well as the non-commercial Kusile unit, had returned to service.

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However, the national electricity supplier informed consumers on Saturday, that it would implement load reduction during peak hours to ease overloading networks with high load caused by illegal connections and tampering.

The power utility released provincial statements of areas that would be affected between 5pm and 10pm on Saturday, and said network overloading caused damage to infrastructure through explosions of transformers, mini-substations, and posed danger to the livelihood and the environment.

They explained that they were battling to keep up with the increased impact of illegal connections and tampering, and equipment failure caused by overloading, which costs Eskom millions of rand to repair.

In spite of explanations, people argued that calling load reduction selective was an understatement because it was discriminatory, and targeted the “high density” areas, which were black communities.

Rodney Lekwadu, from Mabopane, north of Pretoria, said: “Apartheid government was better than the current government. It was direct hate. This is worse because load reduction is meant for blacks community.”

Neighbour Vusi Chabangu said it was sad that people were paying for constantly interrupted electricity. He said that it made no difference whether it was load reduction or load shedding. It should all just end, especially because load reduction seemed to hit hardest in the black communities.

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An angry Elizabeth Gazi said: “Load reduction nonsense is back, and you only target African communities with this apartheid blackout that does not help anybody. We are tired and this is not what we vote for.”

Alister Fairweather said: “I am 43 years old. There has been load shedding in South Africa for more than a third of my life. My wife is 33. There has been load shedding in South Africa for nearly half of her life. There are kids at university who do not remember life without load shedding.”

Pretoria News

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