Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has dismissed assertions the President Cyril Ramaphosa did not give an accurate picture to the nation in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he said the end to load shedding was within reach.
The President gave an update on the work of government in the 2024 SONA assuring South Africans that load shedding will soon be a thing of the past. Ramaphosa’s message coincided with weeks of lower stages of load shedding.
However, barely two days later Eskom had to ramp up rolling blackouts to stage 6 that played out at the weekend and has since been downgraded to stage 5.
Ramokgopa gave an update on the Energy Action Plan.
“What was the amount of load shedding or hours you didn’t have electricity in November 2023 compared to November 2022? What was the amount of load shedding in December 2023 compared to December 2022? What was the amount of load shedding in January 2023 compared to January 2024? What is the amount of load shedding in February of 2023 compared to February of 2024? It’s coming down and that’s why we are saying it’s within reach.”
Claims of sabotage rejected
Eskom’s Head of Generation, Bheki Nxumalo has rejected claims that the current heightened stages of load shedding can be attributed to acts of sabotage and criminal activities at the power utility.
This after ANC Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula alleged that acts of sabotage were behind stage 6 of load shedding on his official ” X” account.
Stage 6 loadshedding clear sabotage. Strong extra security measures are needed.
— ANC SECRETARY GENERAL | Fikile Mbalula (@MbalulaFikile) February 10, 2024
Nxumalo formed part of an update on the Energy Action Plan with the Electricity Minister. Nxumalo says the work of the security cluster aimed at safeguarding the utility’s power stations, continues.
“The security cluster is within the stations. We are doing investigations within our coal space everywhere. So these are ongoing things to look for intelligence. Currently on what has happened, that led to this, you’ve seen that in the biggest changes at Medupi and a number of tube leaks that happened between Thursday and Friday as well. There are ongoing investigations and security scans that we are undertaking.”
Current episodes of higher rolling blackouts a temporary setback: Ramokgopa: