South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cancelled his attendance at this year’s World Economic Forum to deal with an escalating energy crisis that’s hobbling the nation’s economy.
Ramaphosa will meet officials from the state power utility, Eskom, the National Energy Crisis Committee, and political party leaders this week to discuss the blackouts, presidency spokesman Vincent Magwenya said on Twitter.
President @CyrilRamaphosa has already engaged with the leadership of Eskom and National Energy Crisis Committee(NECCOM) and those meetings will continue. More briefing sessions to key stakeholders will take place during this coming week.— Vincent Magwenya 🇿🇦 (@SpokespersonRSA) January 15, 2023
He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent by text message on Monday morning.
Eskom has been implementing load-shedding as long as 12 hours a day since January 10, with about half of its generating capacity offline.
The utility subjected the country to a record 205 days of rolling blackouts last year as coal-fired plants regularly broke down and because it lacked the money to buy diesel needed to supplement its generation capacity.
The current “extreme levels” of power cuts are the most significant downside risk to the country’s economic growth prospects, the Bureau for Economic Research said in a statement on Monday.