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Govt ’making every effort’ to help Eskom and stop load shedding – Gordhan

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government was very mindful of the economic constraints and social and political negativity that load shedding caused.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. File Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

MINISTER of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said there were a number of factors (and therefore government departments) that were possible contributors to ultimately resolving the challenge of load shedding.

Gordhan was responding to a parliamentary written question by the EFF’s Khanya Ceza, who had asked the Minister of Public Enterprises what measures he had put in place to assist Eskom and ensure that load shedding was stopped.

Gordhan’s response came a day before Eskom implemented Stage 2 load shedding from 9pm on Saturday and was expected to continue until 5am on Monday because of generation capacity constraints. A generation unit at Kusile, Medupi and Arnot power stations had failed, and there was a delay in the return to service of a unit at the Tutuka power station.

However, Eskom suspended load shedding from 9pm on Sunday night because emergency generation reserves had recovered adequately. Eskom had anticipated to return to service approximately 4,100MW of generation capacity by Monday evening which would further ease the capacity constraints. In addition, the coal supply at Medupi Power Station had normalised and a generating unit had returned to service.

In his response, Gordhan said the government was working closely with Eskom to reduce the duration of load shedding. The Cabinet acknowledged the inconvenience load shedding caused and the National Treasury was working with Eskom to grant it the appropriate exemptions to acquire the spare parts needed for repairs and maintenance.

“Government notes that Eskom is making progress in re-employing skilled personnel – including plant managers – to help the organisation make headway at individual power stations and across other operations,” Gordhan said.

“In addition, the government is making every effort to bring new power generation capacity online in the shortest possible time. While the Cabinet is aware that the current energy challenges are frustrating and counter-productive to economic growth, it is confident that the practical actions to restructure and strengthen our electricity system will eventually improve South Africa’s energy capacity.”

Gordhan added that they were very mindful of the economic constraints and social and political negativity brought by load shedding.

“We should always be mindful of the operational and technical damage done by those involved in state capture – their priority together with insiders and businesses, was to steal, to overprice services and parts and engage in other forms of malfeasance. The parliamentary inquiry conducted in 2017 exposed many of these shenanigans,” Gordhan said.

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