President Cyril Ramaphosa says Eskom has to prioritise the maintenance of its infrastructure and stem the need for loadshedding.

As the country endures a fifth consecutive day of rolling blackouts, the President has announced the formation of a special committee that will oversee the operations at Eskom.

He also says the unbundling of the power utility is not privatisation but rather a move towards investor confidence and a secure way to keep a continuous supply of power to the country.

Ramaphosa was in the National Assembly responding to a debate on his State of the Nation Address.

“There is no single solution to the problems at Eskom. One of the tasks that are essential to ensuring secure electricity supply is a dedicated and detailed focus on maintenance. An effective, comprehensive maintenance programme properly funded and led by skilled personnel is the one thing that stands between reliable electricity supply and darkness.”

Deputy President to head the committee

Ramaphosa says Deputy President David Mabuza will head the committee.

“I have constituted a special cabinet committee on Eskom which will be led by the Deputy President consisting of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Energy, Finance, Transport, SSA (State Security Agency) and the Police to be seized with the matter of Eskom on a daily basis and to provide me with reports daily on what actions need to be taken to secure energy supply.”

The Democratic Alliance is calling on trade unions to refrain from threatening to prevent the unbundling Eskom into three entities.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane has described the current power outages by Eskom as a crisis which requires all South Africans, including unions, to act in the best interest of the country.

“What we have to make the unions realise is that either they are a partner with South Africa or a partner with the ANC. If they partner with the ANC, they will plunged our economy into crisis. If they partner with South Africa and if we diversify the energy sector, we can create more jobs not less. We can ensure that some of the skills that have BEE  employed in the entities such as Eskom can be put into other power producers that come on board.”

 

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