The Democratic Alliance (DA) finds Eskom’s sudden announcement of Stage 2 loadshedding being implemented from 17:00 today shocking.
South Africa has yet to enter winter, and Eskom is already buckling under pressure and showing what is to be expected this season. The excuse of continued poor performance at the Kusile, Duvha and Tutuka power stations, delays in returning other units to service and breakdowns over the last week, shows just how desperately South Africa needs to rethink its provider of energy needs.
Eskom has been an albatross around the country’s neck for far too long. The SOE’s reputation to leave South Africa in the lurch with barely any notice has discouraged foreign investment and stifled local economic growth. It impacts every single one of the 59.62 million people residing in the country every time there is loadshedding.
The delaying of the power utility’s split into three entities and the refusal to allow for independent power producers (IPPs) has maintained Eskom’s strangle hold on the economy and allowed taxpayers to suffer to compensate for Eskom’s years of mismanagement, failing infrastructure and crippling debt.
South Africa is still knee-deep in the Covid-19 pandemic. While many other countries are actively busy vaccinating their people, the South African vaccine rollout to date has been lamentably minimal to say the least. How will Eskom ensure that it is not the weak link once vaccine rollouts finally happen? All vaccines have to be kept cool, at varying degrees. How can hospitals and clinics ensure that the safety protocols are maintained if they cannot rely on an uninterrupted energy supply from Eskom?
And how are hospitals supposed to cope with their additional Covid-19 case load, on top of all their other work, when loadshedding is always lurking in the background.
Eskom’s announcement today seems to be a clear indicator of things to come. South Africans will once again have to face cold and wet winter nights without power – no warm water or hot food, no lights to study by, no power for life saving machinery in hospitals and no electricity to keep businesses open.
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