The National Health Department says it remains concerned about the impact of blackouts on the delivery of health care services across the country.
This comes after Eskom ramped up rolling blackout stages to Stage 6 a week ago, costing the economy an estimated R4 billion a day.
Despite the expectation of lowered stages from Monday, the utility says the capacity constraints will persist for a while.
According to Eskom, this weekend’s blackouts were used to replenish the pumped storage dam levels, which were utilised extensively over the past week. In its last update, it said it’s experiencing constraints from its diesel suppliers that are affecting the availability of bulk diesel to the Ankerlig and Gourikwa Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which have a combined capacity of 2 000MW.
It warned that should these persist, higher stages of rolling blackouts may be required.
Professor Adam Mohamed head of internal medicine at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, started a petition calling on the government to exempt hospitals and clinics from blackouts to prevent loss of life.
Currently, more than 36 000 healthcare professionals have signed the petition.
National Health Department Spokesperson, Foster Mohale says Minister Joe Phaahla has been working on alternative sources of energy for healthcare facilities.
“It has gotten worse to higher levels of 5 and 6 as it impacts on the provision of health care services across the country. Minister has ordered the Director-General working with provincial heads of health departments to finalise the assessment of the impact already in the past week. In the meantime, the minister has been engaging with the relevant authorities and entities including the minister of Public Enterprises, Eskom and municipalities on the processes to be followed in order to exempt health facilities from blackouts.”
Impact of rolling blackouts on health facilities in South Africa: