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No light at end of Eskom tunnel as power cuts are set to continue into winter

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa on a recent visited toe Koeberg, the country’s only nuclear power station. l PHANDO JIKELO/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa on a recent visited toe Koeberg, the country’s only nuclear power station. l PHANDO JIKELO/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Published May 15, 2023


Johannesburg - Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who currently occupies a hot seat, bears the blame as many blast him for not presenting viable solutions to the ongoing power crisis that continues to wreak havoc in South Africa.

While many South Africans had a gleam of hope with his appointment, Ramokgopa has revealed that this winter will be challenging.

He says that stage 6 power cuts would continue almost indefinitely as the system continued to be under substantial strain.

In a media briefing where he was detailing the implementation of the country's energy plan, he said: "These unplanned outages resulted in Eskom being forced to implement Stage 6, and as Eskom's communication has been saying, it is Stage 6 almost indefinitely."

Ramokgopa, who has been off to a rocky start, has been met with objections as different organisations seek plans and resolutions to end load shedding.

The power crisis continues to have a dire impact on the economic hub of the country, and as a result, most businesses have been forced to close their doors.

Last week, while responding to questions in Parliament's National Council of Provinces, he revealed that South Africa is set to lose more than 850 000 jobs due to load shedding.

The DA is among organisations that have been vocal about the appointment of the minister, pointing out aspects that the party hopes will be tackled.

"That the government will stop misleading the country with respect to the seriousness of the crisis. On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Obed Bapela, stated that we are not yet fully on Stage 8 – a bizarre admission given that according to Eskom, we are currently only on Stage 6.

“So where are we on the spectrum? And why can the government not be honest about this?

"That President Cyril Ramaphosa has resolved the issue of territoriality between the three ministers who have concurrent functions around electricity in order to ensure that Minister Ramokgopa has the scope, mandate, and powers to do what he has been tasked to do – fix the load shedding crisis."

The DA shares this as Ramokgopa was expected to make an "Executive Statement on the "Energy Plan Activities and Short- to Medium-Term Interventions to Limit the Intensity and Frequency of Load Shedding".

"Despite his somewhat rocky start, Minister Ramokgopa should know that every person in this country is willing him to succeed. And he has promised us results. But, unless we start to see more ‘Sputla’ and less splutter from the minister, we face a devastating, dark, and deadly winter," said the party.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to rescind his decision to appeal the ruling of the full Bench of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, ordering the government to provide energy to hospitals, schools and police stations.

Last week, Build One South Africa (Bosa) leader, Mmusi Maimane, asked South Africans to support his petition asking Gordhan to stop the appeal, or face the wrath of political, labour and civil society organisations in court.

The Star