Load shedding during CR’s tenure ‘worse than that under Zuma’

270308. Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

270308. Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Feb 11, 2024


With the country experiencing stage 6 load shedding on a Saturday just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa having delivered his seventh State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, fingers are being pointed as to the real reasons behind the energy crisis.

On Saturday morning, Eskom announced that the power utility will be implementing stage 6 power cuts until further notice due to two generating units being taken off-line.

“In spite of returning two generating units to service over the last 24 hours, two generating units were also taken off-line.

“This, combined with the need to replenish the pumped storage dams in preparation for the week ahead, necessitated the implementation of stage 6 load shedding from midnight until further notice,” Eskom said.

While speaking to SABC News during a review of Ramaphosa’s Sona, energy expert Duma Gqubule revealed that during Zuma’s tenure, load shedding only occurred for a period of eight months, while during Ramaphosa’s it has taken hold of the country for six years, since he took over in 2018.

“The problem of Eskom plants collapsing started in 2018 when President Ramaphosa was appointed, and not in 2007. There is this myth that we had consecutive years of load shedding under the Jacob Zuma administration. However, for seven out of nine years there was no load shedding. There was load shedding for only eight months between 2014 to 2025 because of one specific issue.”

Gqubule added that in spite of Ramaphosa’s Energy Action Plan and the appointment of a minister of electricity, South Africa had one of its worst years of load shedding in 2023.

“If you look at the year 2022, there was an Energy Action Plan in July 2022 and the appointment of the minister in 2023, but still, 2023 after Andre de Ruyter leaves, we had the worst year in load shedding history.

“The energy that was shed last year was much more than all the previous years from 2017 to 2022 combined. It accounted for 50% of the energy that was shed from 2007. Also, since 2018, under the Ramaphosa presidency, it accounts for 95% of the energy that was shed since 2007. This is entirely, something that is happening in the last six years,” he said.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa once again said the energy crisis was coming to an end, adding that the worst of the crisis was in the past.

He said his government had implemented a R254-billion debt relief plan last year to reduce Eskom’s debt burden and enable it to invest in maintenance and infrastructure.

“Through tax incentives and financial support, we have more than doubled the amount of rooftop solar capacity installed across the country in just the past year,” he said.

Gqubule said in total, Zuma’s administration accounted for only 3.4% of the country’s load shedding, adding that the austerity measures were not helping matters.

“What I am trying to say is that with this energy crisis, we must understand the scale of this crisis, and what was announced is the structural reform.

“Now, you must understand that public investment has collapsed and we only have about 2 300 MW that is under construction, but if you add up all these initiatives, they add up to little in terms of money on the ground because we have an investment crisis in this economy. Public investment has collapsed from 2015 to 2022 by 38% because of these insane austerity policies of the government,” he said.