Load-shedding can’t be ended overnight, Ramaphosa says
Country must be realistic about the challenges and what it is going to take to fix them, he says
Though it may be easy to “blame our present woes on dysfunctionality” at Eskom, a combination of factors have contributed to the country’s power crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.
“As load-shedding continues to wreak havoc on businesses, households and communities, the last thing South Africans want to hear are excuses or unrealistic promises. The demands for an immediate end to power cuts are wholly understandable. Everyone is fed up,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.
He emphasised the importance of recalling the reasons for the situation, so that the government’s response tackles the causes of the crisis and not only the symptoms.
However, the president said the country was in the grip of an energy crisis that has been years in the making.
We must be realistic about our challenges and what it is going to take to fix themPresident Cyril Ramaphosa
“While we all desperately want to, we cannot end load-shedding overnight. We must be realistic about our challenges and what it is going to take to fix them.”
Lack of investment in new generating capacity, poor power plant maintenance, corruption and criminality, sabotage of infrastructure, rising municipal debt and a lack of suitable skills are factors cited by the president that have contributed to what he called “the perfect storm”.
“For many years critical maintenance was deferred and our power stations were run too hard to keep the lights on. As a country we are paying the price for these miscalculations.”
Ramaphosa said over the past few days he has held meetings with representatives of labour, business, traditional and religious leaders and the community. He also met premiers, metro mayors and leaders of political parties.
“In each of those meetings I stressed the importance of staying the course instead of coming up with unsustainable short-term solutions. Six months ago I announced a national Energy Action Plan to improve the performance of Eskom’s power stations and add new generation capacity as quickly as possible,” he said.
The plan was the result of extensive consultation and was endorsed by energy experts as the “most realistic path towards ending load-shedding, despite many of the measures in the plan not being felt in the immediate term. That is why we are using every means at our disposal, calling on every resource we have, to get power onto the grid as a matter of extreme urgency,” Ramaphosa said.
“While we cannot end load-shedding immediately, what is certain is that if we work together with urgency to implement the Energy Action Plan, load-shedding will steadily become less severe,” he said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked Eskom to temporarily suspend the implementation of an 18.65% tariff increase by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) “as it would cause an injury” to South Africans.
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