Eskom’s continuous rolling blackouts threatening access to life-saving oxygen machines

Issued by Haseena Ismail MP – DA Member on the Portfolio Committee of Health
06 Jun 2021 in News

The DA has received numerous reports that the unreliability of Eskom’s loadshedding schedule and extended loadshedding hours has meant that some medical facilities and private individuals do not have backup power to keep these machines going.

Homecare patients who use oxygen supply at home have been severely affected by the rolling blackouts, and patients with emphysema are at most risk as they have to be on oxygen for at least 12 to 15 hours a day.

With the third wave of Covid-19 infections sweeping across the country, many South Africans will depend on oxygen machines to save their lives. These patients have very low oxygen levels and could die if their oxygen supply has suddenly stopped due to rolling blackouts. Most people cannot afford rechargeable oxygen machines, and this could mean loss of life.

Eskom is playing with people’s lives with these rolling blackouts. The power utility should have the decency to provide a proper and reliable schedule to the public. It is not normal that South Africans’ natural right to breathe is being undermined by Eskom.

This while it suspends loadshedding between 12:00 and 17:00 in order for parliamentarians to conduct their work. While the work of Parliament is critical, the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans are also just as important.