President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet has “expressed regret” over the intermittent load shedding that has disrupted the economic activities of businesses and inconvenienced households in the country.
Load shedding crisis
Ramaphosa on Wednesday chaired a virtual Cabinet meeting to discuss the country’s energy crisis that saw Eskom implement rolling blackouts since 6 September, due to breakdowns at its failing power stations.
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The beleaguered power utility escalated load shedding to stage 6 over the weekend until midnight on Monday, which was described as the worst bout of rotational power cuts in the history of the parastatal.
In a statement issued by Cabinet after the conclusion of its meeting, the executive said it remained committed to resolving South Africa’s energy security and welcomed the “concerted efforts being made by government and stakeholders” to find a permanent solution to end load shedding.
“Cabinet expressed regret that intermittent load shedding is happening at the time when government is vigorously engaged with the interventions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2022, to overcome the surmountable energy crisis facing the country,” said Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams.
Williams said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan presented a briefing to Cabinet on the capacity of Eskom and a progress report from the newly established National Energy Crisis Committee.
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“Cabinet is still deliberating on these reports and following further interventions announcements will be made.”
Hospitals buckling under pressure
Meanwhile, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on Friday called on government to exempt all hospitals from the intermittent bouts of load shedding.
READ MORE: HPCSA calls on government to exempt all hospitals from load shedding
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The council on Friday said hospitals in the country were buckling under pressure due to the various stages of power outages implemented by Eskom, and that this had created more strain on a healthcare system already stretched too thin.
“Load shedding has negatively impacted the provision of quality care in all our health facilities, and placed an enormous strain on the health practitioners on their daily routine of work.
“Healthcare practitioners in the hospitals are unable to perform emergency surgeries timeously because of load shedding and this has put the lives of the patients at risk,” the HPCSA said in a statement.
Stage 5 load shedding
The country has been experiencing stage 5 power cuts since Monday, with a possibility of Eskom reducing a further stage by Thursday.
Eskom said since Monday afternoon, four generation units at four power stations were taken offline for emergency repairs. These were a generating unit each at Amot, Lethabo, Kendal and Majuba power stations.
Seven units returned to service at Camden, Kendal, Kriel, Kusile, Lethabo and Majuba power stations.
“Eskom apologises for the continued and unfortunate load shedding, which is implemented only as a last resort in view of the shortage of generation capacity and the need to attend to breakdowns.
“While some generation units are anticipated to return to service, it is necessary to continue the stage 5 load shedding to limit the use of the emergency generation reserves.
“The emergency generation reserves are severely constrained by extensive utilisation to supplement generation capacity,” Eskom said.
The struggling power utility said it would promptly communicate any further changes.
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