Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says the cost of the ongoing blackouts in the country is unbearable to the economy. He was speaking at the African Energy Week Conference at the Waterfront in Cape Town.

South Africans have been bearing the brunt of rolling blackouts in recent weeks.

This is as Eskom struggles to generate enough capacity to sustain the national electricity grid. During a media briefing, Mantashe said that Eskom’s functions need to be optimised in order to improve energy security in the country.

His department is also now running various procurement processes in order to source additional energy that can be added to the national grid, which will help alleviate the impact of power blackouts.

Eskom CEO on his way back home

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter is on his way back to the country to address the ongoing blackouts.

He was scheduled to address a roundtable on the energy transition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this afternoon. Eskom is facing increased pressure to keep the country’s lights on following its implementation of stage four blackouts which will continue until Friday.

There are also calls from various sectors for De Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to account for rolling blackouts.

Discussion on blackouts with various stakeholders:

Workers blame management for blackouts

Some workers at the Arnot power station in Rietkuil near Middelburg in Mpumalanga blame the plant’s management for the current blackouts.

The workers say the plant has insufficient coal, which results in poor power generation capacity. Arnot is one of the 12 Eskom power stations in Mpumalanga.

A worker spoke on condition of anonymity.

” Lot of workers are at home especially at the coal side, we see that the management is failing us. There is something that is corrupt, they are not telling us the truth, there are delays because of purchase orders. If there is no purchase order, the workers are not reporting to work, they sit at home.”