Panic stations by Ramokgopa and the Eskom board after DA calls for honesty on loadshedding

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
23 Apr 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

The panicked response by the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, and the Eskom Board Chair, Mteto Nyati, to the opinion piece by DA Leader John Steenhuisen – in which the DA called for honesty on loadshedding suspension, created much confusion and left many questions unanswered.

For starters, both Ramokgopa and Nyati did not dispute the DA’s assertion that Eskom was still using Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) to augment generation capacity. What they failed to do was provide clarity on the amount of diesel that Eskom had burned since the 31st of March, when Eskom’s 2023/2024 financial year ended, and the amount spent in procuring this diesel.

In his own words, Nyati admitted that the Eskom budget for the 2024/2025 financial year is yet to be approved. With Eskom already burning diesel through the OCGTs, the question that arises is whether Eskom is using out of budget diesel procurement to keep the OCGTs running and generation capacity up?

Ramokgopa did not help the situation either with his contradictory statements that sounded more of a political campaign statement than a considered system performance overview. He made the boisterous claim that ‘Eskom has turned the corner’ but at the same time warned that “…loadshedding is not behind us”. It is these contradicting positions that render Ramokgopa dishonest and not to be trusted on anything relating to loadshedding.

He is the same person who in October 2023, made the now infamous claim that ‘we are turning the corner’ on loadshedding. In Ramokgopa’s world, Eskom is constantly in a state of turning the corner on loadshedding but never seem to end it completely.

It is curious that we have an Eskom Board Chair and a Minister of Electricity celebrating an Energy Availability Factor (EAF) of 56% when power stations should be operating between 70% and 80% EAF to guarantee security of supply and no loadshedding. The underperforming power stations show that South Africa is nowhere close to reducing its generation deficit and ending loasdhedding.

The DA stands by its position that it would be the worst scandal of this election if Eskom announced the return of load-shedding after the final vote. Eskom has simply not addressed the long-term structural challenges affecting the performance of its coal power stations.

No amount of sugar coating will hide the fact that the amount of damage done to our electricity sector by the ruinous ANC government can only be fixed by voting them out on 29 May and giving the DA an opportunity to rescue South Africa.