South African government’s big load-shedding lies

The government has promised the end of load-shedding by 2024, but experts warn that it is cheap electioneering ahead of the 2024 South African general election.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently said the government is doing great work to fix Eskom and the energy crisis and that load-shedding will end by 2024.

“Energy has been a great drawback to us, but we are working on it, and we are certain that by 2024, the energy crisis will be over,” Ramaphosa said.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said the provincial government had planned to end load-shedding by January 2024.

The plan includes securing alternative energy sources and protecting and fixing the existing electrical infrastructure.

Lesufi said they are building three solar power plants based in Gauteng and “improving old electricity plants that were dead in our province.

Energy experts warned that Ramaphosa and Lesufi’s promises gave South African consumers and businesses false hope and downplayed the severity of the energy crisis.

Energy expert Hartmut Winkler said although Gauteng is building some solar power stations, they still take time to set up.

“Although solar plants can be built much quicker than coal or nuclear, it will still take 18 months to two years to complete,” he said.

Winkler predicts that the earliest South Africa will see a difference in load-shedding is by the end of next year.

He added that on a national level, load-shedding will persist for far longer than the government predicts.

“People are hoping that the breakdowns at Kusile, which accounts for two stages of load-shedding, will be resolved by the end of the year. I would be surprised if that happens,” he said.

The interventions mentioned by Ramaphosa and Lesufi would help, but there is no quick fix to the energy crisis.

Considering all these factors, Winkler said South Africans should expect to have load-shedding for five more years.

Energy analyst Chris Yelland shares Winkler’s views, saying Ramaphosa’s promises are the words of a politician and not a President.

“This is the type of election talk – with big promises and bold statements – that we have become used to,” he said.

“I would have hoped that the President learned from past experience not to make bold and ill-informed statements.”

In 2019, for example, Ramaphosa promised that there would be no load-shedding over Christmas. However, there was severe load-shedding over the festive season.

“The President needs to be very careful about listening to his advisors. He should not play to the crowd because people take his words seriously.”


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