Eskom must come clean on loadshedding and the impact it will have on vaccine rollout

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
17 May 2021 in News

The DA is calling on Eskom to provide an urgent state-of-the-system update and explain how its loadshedding schedule will be managed to ensure that it does not affect the vaccine rollout process.

The latest announcement of loadshedding from Eskom, announced yesterday evening and just minutes before it began at 5pm, was yet another reminder that Eskom’s current status, capacity and operational constraints remain an ever present threat to South Africa’s slow economic recovery.

It is of particular concern that loadshedding will impact the rollout of vaccines sorely needed in the face of the continuing Covid pandemic.

What is required is a transparent assessment of capacity for the winter months so people and companies can plan ahead. An urgent state of the system update will be key in ensuring that the efficacy and storage of vaccines is not impacted negatively.

The return of loadshedding underscores the urgent need to open the market to more generation capacity funded by the private sector. The DMRE needs to up its game in this regard. A case in point is an application form the mining company, Goldfields, for a 40Mw plant which took four years to get approval.

Eskom and the country is in dire need of additional capacity and it is clear that no further delays must be forthcoming; indeed an acceleration is called for. We are in urgent need of an augmentation of 4000 Mw’s.

A clear mandate for the private sector to step in where the public sector has failed is what is needed – not the dithering and delays as our days dim and darken.

Just what the SOE Presidents’ Council is doing or has done since its inception in June 2020 is a matter of concern – even more so as the president appears to be preoccupied with internal party wrangles while the lights dim across the country.

The DA demands a decisive announcement from the President, his Council and the two ministers responsible for Eskom and Energy.

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