Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, who has suspended his travel as the nation’s power crisis gets worse, warned on Monday that there was no chance for change “in the immediate term.”
“Given the uncertain performance of (state-owned Eskom’s) coal-fired power plant fleet, we will not be able to stop load shedding in the short term. This is the sad reality of a long-standing situation,” he wrote in his weekly letter addressed to the country..
Africa’s top industrial powerhouse is plagued by additional severe power cuts in the middle of the southern winter after several weeks of intense load shedding between June and July because the national grid is unable to produce enough electricity as a result of years of poor management and corruption.
For almost two weeks, this has resulted in daily power outages of several hours for homes and businesses. For the past 15 years, there has been a load shedding system in effect.
In reaction to the issue, Ramaphosa, who was visiting the United States and London, declared an early return to the system last week.
“These last two weeks of load shedding have been extremely frustrating and difficult. The public’s anger is justified,” he said, adding that the power shortage was “jeopardising” the economy.
“In the immediate term, our aim is to reduce the frequency and severity of load shedding by addressing the failures at the power stations,” he added.
Springtime’s increase in temperature typically causes a decline in consumption and lessens the load on aging and poorly maintained power plants.
However, a high number of outages has resulted in a sharp decline in production, which is also being hampered by issues with coal supplies.
Coal provides 80% of South Africa’s electricity, resulting in significant pollution that environmentalists have criticised.
Calling on South Africans to “use electricity sparingly”, the president assured that measures to create new production capacity are progressing “even if the effects are not immediately felt”.
In July, Cyril Ramaphosa declared that the sector would be made available to the private sector. The nation signed the first contracts for the development of wind energy last week after receiving €7.7 billion for its energy transition at COP26.
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