Deputy President David Mabuza has assured South Africans that Eskom will turn the corner and that power security will return as the country endures another round of load shedding this week.
Yesterday, Mabuza told the National Council of Provinces that plans were in place to make the state-owned utility functional again, as reported by IOL. Eskom introduced stage two and stage four load shedding this week, but promised to downgrade to stage three yesterday.
Mabuza’s plan would involve increasing the capacity for power generation by bringing the Medupi and Kusile power stations online. He also said that there’s a plan to bring independent power producers into the fold.
“South Africans must be confident that we’re going to get out of this problem. Why I am saying so is that there’s a new-build programme. The new-build programme allows for the introduction of additional capacity. It will come from Medupi and Kusile. We’re also opening another window of independent power producers that will come. We’re expecting more than 2,000 megawatts that will come from that direction.
“We have said this again and again that we have got an old fleet and this old fleet was not adequately maintained,” Mabuza said. “I am confident that as days go by we will get out of this problem. As we introduce Medupi and Kusile our system will stabilise,”
Mabuza also said that Eskom would be restructured and divided into three separate entities for distribution, generation and transmission. They are pushing for the process of splitting the power utility to be completed by 2022.
“We’re pleased by the progress we’re making, better transforming and improving the performance of Eskom under the leadership of the new CEO,” he said, according to TimesLIVE. “The timeline can be up to 2022. We hope by that time we’ll have completed the restructuring of the whole entity, dividing into three entities.”
With Eskom being put under pressure due to an increase in their already uncontrollable levels of debt (from R440 billion to R448 billion), Mabuza has said that reducing debt and balancing Eskom’s books is high on their list of priorities.
Mabuza also took the time to apologise to South Africans, but the DA has shown no sympathy for him and have been critical due to the economic losses caused by load shedding.
“We must apologise for the continued disruptions in terms of energy supply. This is because of our maintenance challenges. Our people and honourable members will understand that we’re dealing with a very old fleet and from time to time it presents operational problems,” Mabuza said.
“South Africans and the economy lose billions due to load-shedding. Now you say our people will understand, but they don’t understand why we had stage 2 and stage 4 yesterday. So I would like to know from you, deputy president, are high levels of load-shedding [expected] in the coming weeks?” asked DA MP, Armand Benjamin Cloete.
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