Ramaphosa asks South Africa to be patient with Eskom

President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked for more patience from South Africans regarding Eskom and load-shedding.

South Africans experienced a load-shedding-free run between Thursday, 18 August and Tuesday, 6 September 2022.

However, the country has been subjected to varying levels of load-shedding since.

“There is progress. Lots of positive things are happening in our economy, and I know it’s too much to ask for patience from our people, but at the same time, all I can say is that the problems are being addressed,” Ramaphosa said.

“On the issue of stage 4 load-shedding, Eskom continues to face considerable challenges, and as I said, we need it to get about 4,000MW of power, which is in the process of being obtained as we speak.”

He explained that until it can add more capacity to the grid, Eskom’s challenges will continue to impact South Africans.

“Fortunately, they are not continuous. They keep recovering some of the units that fail from time to time,” he added.

He explained that South Africa’s investors understand the country’s challenges regarding its power supply.

“They understand where we are, but they also are appreciative of the measures and steps we are taking on an ongoing basis to repair Eskom,” he added.

Ramaphosa said the country would have to bear the impact of load-shedding on South African businesses and livelihoods until progress is made on his plan to fix Eskom and end rotational power cuts.

“Of course, the unfortunate part is that it affects livelihoods. It also affects our companies, and what we can say is that the problems are being addressed within the strategy that I announced.”

“That strategy is being implemented. It’s unfolding, and we will soon see progress.”

Ramaphosa was responding to questions from an eNCA reporter at the launch of the Sappi Saiccor Mill upgrade and extension project in Umkomaas.

“The investment that we have just launched here was an investment that was proposed in 2018,” he said.

“Many people never believed that this would really be realised, and today it has been realised.”

He added that the upgrade and expansion project had created a “good number of jobs”.

Code red at Eskom

Eskom splits its load-shedding outlook into two risk levels: a base scenario of outages (planned risk level), where unplanned outages reach 15,200MW and a second outlook accounting for further unexpected breakdowns (likely risk scenario) where losses reach 17,200MW.

The power utility’s outlook for the year paints a bleak picture for South Africans, with the possibility of load-shedding being implemented for 49 weeks, or 94% of the year.

It shows that Eskom could likely be more than 2,001MW short of meeting demand and reserves, meaning South Africans could experience at least stage 2 load-shedding for the 49 weeks, according to the power utility’s likely risk scenario.

After an almost three-week power cut-free run in August and early September, Eskom implemented Stage 2 load-shedding on Tuesday, 6 September.

Eskom initially scheduled load-shedding to run between 05:00 and 22:00. However, the power utility extended rotational power cuts to run through the night on Thursday that same week.

Further breakdowns and the need to replenish emergency reserves led to Eskom increasing power cuts to stage 4 on Saturday, 10 September.

Although initially scheduled to decrease to stage 2 during the week, Eskom announced on Wednesday that load-shedding will remain at stage 4 until Saturday.

Eskom said there is a possibility of lower stages from Saturday morning.

Now read: Eskom increases load-shedding as three units trip at one station — here is the timetable

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Ramaphosa asks South Africa to be patient with Eskom