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File picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
File picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Stage 6 load-shedding will be implemented until late Friday with an envisaged reduction only to stage 4 over the weekend, Eskom says.

“The high levels of staff absenteeism and intimidation of working employees in some of the power stations is still rife. This has made it difficult to conduct routine maintenance and other operational requirements, which will further impact the reliability of generation units,” the power provider said.

Staff are on a wildcat strike for higher wages, with negotiations resuming on Friday.

Eskom currently has 3,161MW on planned maintenance, while another 17,467MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.

As a result, stage 6 load-shedding will be implemented from 2pm on Thursday until midnight.

Stage 4 load-shedding will then be implemented from midnight to 5am on Friday.

From 5am until midnight on Friday, stage 6 load-shedding will be implemented.

“A minimum of stage 4 will be required continuously over the weekend.”

Eskom said the unprotected strike has caused widespread disruption to its power plants and it is unable to return some generators to service.

“Eskom is compelled to take this unprecedented step to conserve emergency generation capacity to safeguard the power system.”

Calling on its employees to abide by the call from the unions' leadership to return to work immediately, Eskom said: “The unlawful strike has a serious detrimental impact not only on Eskom, but also on the broader SA public and economy. Union members, who work in a designated essential service, have a legal and moral obligation to return to work in order safeguard SA from further load-shedding.”

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