Stage 6 load-shedding will have long-term benefits – Cabinet

During a meeting on Wednesday, the Cabinet was assured that elevated stages of load-shedding are a temporary measure that will have long-term benefits for the country. 

This was revealed by Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni during a briefing on the Cabinet’s meeting on Wednesday. 

Ntshavheni said the Cabinet had extensive deliberations about the electricity challenges the country is facing. 

In particular, Cabinet was updated on Eskom’s current planned maintenance programme that is being implemented by the utility “to ensure the sustainability of Eskom’s plants”.

“The implementation of the planned fleet maintenance programme has resulted in higher stages of load-shedding in recent days”, Ntshavheni said. 

“The implementation of stage 6 load-shedding in the last week was a regress from the trend of lower stages of load-shedding in previous weeks.”

“Cabinet was assured that the current implementation of higher stages of load-shedding is a short-term measure as Eskom prepares for sustained lower stages of load-shedding in the near future,” Ntshavheni said. 

“There are clear plans for when additional capacity will come through. There is the return to service of Kusile units 1 to 4. There is also additional work being done. Cabinet is sure that the increase in load shedding stages is indeed a temporary measure,” she said in response to questions. 

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Ntshavheni’s comments echo those of senior government members, including the President and Deputy President. 

Last week, President Ramaphosa said South Africans should see the current stage 6 load-shedding in a positive light as it is “short-term pain for longer-term gain”.

“The load-shedding that we are going through now is occasioned by what Eskom is having to do to reposition the generation of our fleet,” Ramaphosa said.

“They are maintaining our fleet. They are making sure that incidents of load-shedding that have been given rise to in the past because of unplanned load-shedding events like breakdowns are put behind us.”

He added that the more intense load-shedding will not last. “This, as much as it is stage 6, is of a short-term nature,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the minister of electricity has briefed him thoroughly about the processes that Eskom is going through. “There is short-term pain for longer-term gain,” he said.

The President further urged South Africans to see the current process and the subsequent stage 6 load-shedding in a positive light.

“We are obviously worried when there is load-shedding, but as we go through this process now, we must see it in a positive light because, in the long term, these are things we have to do to say goodbye to load-shedding,” he said.

Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Deputy President Paul Mashatile told the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association that intensive maintenance was being done at power stations to relieve the ongoing power cuts on a long-term basis.

“We are allowing Minister Ramokgopa to do a lot of maintenance. So, if you see a bit of a spike at the moment, they are doing intensive maintenance. They have taken a lot of them for maintenance. When they return online, you will see reduced load shedding.”

Earlier this month, Ramokgopa said the country was plunged into higher load-shedding stages because Eskom was not “sticking to its planned maintenance schedule”.

Ramokgopa said South Africans should expect intensified power cuts to persist in the short term.

“We are going to stick to planned and philosophy maintenance. We do accept that in the short-term, it’s going to result in the possibility of intensified load shedding,” said Ramokgopa.


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