Ramaphosa’s ambitious drive to raise $100billion in investment for South Africa will remain a pipe dream if our electricity supply continues to be unreliable
ESKOM’s announcement that load shedding will make a comeback during the festive season is a slap in the face for South Africans who have little to celebrate during this time of the year.
The outages would also hit businesses hard at a time when they should be capitalising on the festive season shopping spree.
Eskom announced that the coal crunch affecting the power utility’s 11 power stations would lead to power blackouts for almost 10 hours around the country. Already several areas in eThekwini Municipality have been experiencing power outages due to load shedding.
While we acknowledge that as citizens we are paying the price for many years of corruption and mismanagement that has characterised state-owned enterprises for the past 10 years, we expected the power utility’s new board to bring stability and foresight to Eskom. The inability of the new board to conclude new coal contracts with other suppliers, knowing very well the festive season power demands, is unacceptable and shocking.
Last week, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the utility would be forging ahead with its plan to sign coal supply contracts to mitigate the shortfall. However, this should have been done much earlier to ensure that load shedding does not hit the country at a time when electricity demand is extremely high.
For many people the arrival of the new board heralded a new beginning at Eskom, and we were under the impression power outages were a thing of the past. Eskom cannot keep applying for unreasonable increases in electricity tariffs from the National Energy Regulator when it is still battling to keep the lights on.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ambitious drive to raise $100billion in investment for South Africa will remain a pipe dream if our electricity supply continues to be unreliable.