Home South African Brace yourselves South Africa, load shedding isn’t going anywhere

Brace yourselves South Africa, load shedding isn’t going anywhere

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday revealed that load shedding was likely to continue for longer as challenges have hindered the supply of electricity.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. Picture: David Ritchie

Durban – Load shedding was likely to continue for a while longer, as challenges like corruption at both of Eskom’s main power plants, Kusile and Medupi have hindered the supply of electricity, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday.

“The hope was that Medupi and Kusile, between them, would give us over 9,000 megawatts, and I think all of you know that those projects did not come out properly,” he said.

“There were design faults, there were construction faults, there were construction strikes. There were massive overruns in terms of time and cost, and of course, there was corruption,” Gordhan said.

“Some people are in court at the moment and more people are likely to land in court for their role in that particular regard. Those two plants are not as effective as they should be and Kusile has three units operating, but there’s another three units that will come into operation over the next three years.”

Gordhan was speaking during a virtual event with industry professionals to discuss the state of SOE’s in the country ahead of the municipal elections on November 1. The event was attended by industry professionals who drilled Gordhan over difficulties of navigating South Africa’s business climate, particularly around the mining and energy sector.

One of the attendee’s had asked Gordhan, who oversees companies, such as Eskom, Denel and SAA, to name a few, whether or not load shedding was here to stay.

The 72-year-old, Durban-born politician responded by saying that the ANC has to admit that it was not two steps ahead of the game and that it could have done better over the last 20 years.

With three days before South Africans take to the polls for the 2021 local government elections, the country has experienced constant rolling blackouts in the week leading up to November 1, but Gordhan says that another 6,000 MW is needed in order to conduct “proper maintenance”.

Eskom issued a statement that load shedding would be suspended from Friday night at 8pm as generation capacity has been recovered, with three generation units returning to service over the past 24 hours.

“Total breakdowns amount to 14,618 MW while planned maintenance is 4,855 MW of capacity. Eskom would like to remind customers and the public that load shedding is implemented as a last resort to maintain the stability of the power system,” Eskom said.

Another attendee had asked the minister about the departure of Vuyani Jarana from South African Airways (SAA), the country’s ailing airline. Gordhan said he could not speak about it that much, and said: “I don’t want to go into details but not everything you hear is necessarily consistent with what happens. So I’m putting it very diplomatically at this point in time”.

Gordhan also reiterated former President Thabo Mbeki’s sentiments last night regarding the relationships between the state and private sector, but said the government goes the distance to implement programmes, but sometimes, social partners fail to “come to the party”.

Mbeki addressed business professionals and academics last night at the Durban ICC as part of the ANC’s campaign trail.

“I think from a government point of view, we go quite some distance in order to implement that which we commit to but we find that our social partners don’t necessarily always come to the party,” he added.

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