Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) National Spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, says the IFP does not buy what the party describes as – an ‘excuse’ by Eskom that the unexpected load shedding was caused by problems with its conveyor belt at one of its power stations.

Eskom implemented unexpected Stage 2 load shedding since 10 pm on Saturday evening. The power utility says it is hopeful that there will be no load shedding in the coming working week.

In an earlier interview with SABC News, Eskom said the conveyor belt failure at the Medupi power station has been repaired giving it an opportunity to feed power into the grid.

Eskom spokesperson is Dikatso Mothae says, “This incident, however, as well as a loss of additional generation units caused us to have to deplete our diesel and pump storage levels, which we need to restore as we head into the working week on Monday. So this is why we are load shedding at Stage 2. We want to replenish those emergency reserves ready for the coming working week.”

The IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa says one of the fundamental problems at Eskom is the collapse of management and not the conveyor belts.

“The challenges which have been raised around the conveyer belt and so on,- really are cosmetic. It’s an excuse more than it is a reason. The issue of the conveyor belt is a result and a consequence of a design flow, it is a result of the inability to manage infrastructures in a manner that inspires confidence. And therefore you should expect that you would have problems in a so far as conveyor belts are concerned and many other technical aspects.”

Hlengwa says the load shedding crisis is a sign that South Africa’s energy security state is on autopilot. He believes that the lack of consequence management is another key reason for Eskom’s failure to keep the lights on.

“We are extremely concerned about the state of health of Eskom in its totality precisely because commitments which have been made have not been fulfilled, and the country for all intense and purposes is on autopilot in so as the energy security is concerned. And chief amongst their issues which befall Eskom is that there is no consequence management,- particularly is as so far as Medupi and Khusile are concerned who are really supposed to have been the messiah power stations for the country. And we have received very little benefits and dividends out of these two power stations.”

‘Real cause’ for  load shedding crisis

COPE is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take the nation into his confidence by giving what it calls – the ‘real cause’ for the load shedding crisis.

COPE’s Dennis Bloem, who calls it a disaster, also weighed in on the load shedding matter.

“We can call it a disaster when the President of the country is saying and assured the people of the country that there won’t be any load shedding up until the 13th of January. And now we are seeing that in the first few days of January there is load shedding. The President must take us into confidence what is really happening at Eskom. Is this a flop, is it weak management or what is actually happening. All of us want to know what is the real cause for this load shedding”

The Stage 2 load shedding began just two days before the new Eskom CEO, Andre De Ruyter, officially assumes his duties at the power utility on Monday.

Bloem says this is the chance to test De Ruyter’s knowledge and capability to stop load shedding.

“We don’t know what is his capability, his capacity. But it’s very clear,- his work is cut out. They have said he was going to start on the 25th of December. Now we are seeing that there is already load shedding. So we don’t know what he is going to do at Eskom. We hope that he is also not coming with a lot of baggage from where he is coming to fix this load shedding. We only hope, we don’t have a guarantee of his capability and his knowledge about Eskom.”

Eskom earlier said De Ruyter has already started his induction at the power utility ahead of him officially taking over as the new Eskom CEO from Monday.