CONFIRMED – ANC government is putting political pressure on Eskom to burn more diesel: DA wants answers

Issued by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
10 May 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Mimmy Gondwe MP.

Protestations and repeated denials by Eskom Board Chair Mteto Nyati and the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, that Eskom was burning more diesel to keep the lights on have fallen flat after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) confirmed that Eskom is rapidly depleting its diesel budget for the 2024/2025 financial year at an alarming rate.

According to NERSA, Eskom has already blown more than half of its quarterly budget of diesel for the first quarter of the 2024/2025 financial year in just one month. As the regulator responsible for the allocation of Eskom’s diesel allocation for Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs), NERSA revealed that Eskom has already hit 168.5 gigawatt hours (GwH) of the electricity that it is allowed to produce using diesel for the first quarter from April to June 2024.

Further according to the weekly newspaper, the Mail and Guardian, insiders within Eskom are saying that Eskom’s diesel spend is edging towards R7 billion and this is linked to political pressure related to the upcoming elections.

The DA will be submitting an official Public Protector complaint against the Ramaphosa administration based on prima facie evidence that it overstepped its authority and directly interfered in the operation of Eskom for political advantage in an election year. In addition, we will make the case that they deliberately used false information to mislead members of the public on Eskom’s diesel use because they wanted to cover up their political scheme.

Viewed differently, the actions of Ramaphosa and his Cabinet amount to political interference because they are exerting pressure on Eskom to burn more diesel and keep the lights on at all costs for the purposes of misleading the public that Eskom had turned a corner on loadshedding.

NERSA has confirmed beyond any doubt that the use of diesel-powered OCGT’s was ramped up during the April-June 2024 financial quarter to coincides with the national elections on 29 May.

With the rate at which diesel has been burnt to maintain this illusion of constant power supply, chances are high that loadshedding will return almost immediately when polls close on 29 May as Eskom tries to limit chances of blowing its diesel budget for the 2024/2025 financial year.

The manipulation of loadshedding to influence an election outcome is an eggragious violation of the law and the ANC government, together with Eskom executives that they are working with, must be held accountable. South Africans should not be fooled by this brazen abuse of power and they must act to decisively vote out the manipulators on the 29th of May.