SA not load shedding free yet, Ramaphosa warns

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: Presidency/Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that the possibility of load shedding cannot be ruled out.

Ramaphosa made the remarks in his weekly newsletter “From the desk of the president” on Monday.

Last Friday marked 100 days since South Africa last experienced load shedding. This is the longest continuous period without load shedding since 2020.

Warning

However, Ramaphosa cautioned that despite the 100-day milestone, the rolling blackouts could return.

“While this is a welcomed milestone, it is not a reason to relax. Our electricity system remains vulnerable and we cannot yet rule out a possibility of further load shedding. Rather, this milestone provides encouragement for us to do more and to work faster to ensure a secure supply of electricity now and into the future.

“We have seen real progress in the implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP), which we initiated in July 2022, and are now witnessing some of the results of the cooperation between government, business and other social partners,” said Ramaphosa.

Kusile

Eskom last week scored a reprieve in reducing more load shedding after it successfully commissioned Unit 5 at the Kusile Power Station, adding an additional 800MW to the grid.

This will bring Kusile’s total output to 4 000MW.

Ramaphosa said there has been a marked improvement in the performance of the power stations that produce the bulk of South Africa’s electricity.

“The improvement in the reliability of power supply has been a relief for households, who have been able to go about their daily lives without the inconvenience of load shedding. It has also been a great relief for businesses.

“The latest consumer confidence index compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) found that the suspension of load shedding was a factor that contributed towards increased consumer confidence in the second quarter of this year,” Ramaphosa said.

Electricity supply

In its April Monetary Policy Review, the South African Reserve Bank noted that “as electricity supply improves gradually, underpinned by the ongoing private investment in renewable energy generation and increased maintenance by Eskom”, South Africa’s near and medium-term outlook for growth is set to increase.

Ramaphosa said the Reserve Bank underscored the importance of the full implementation of energy and logistics sector reforms if growth is to improve.

“We are committed to continue and complete the far-reaching structural reforms we started during the sixth administration to resolve the immediate electricity supply challenges and lay the groundwork for energy security into the future.

“The latest milestone reached in the structural reform journey is the commencement of trading last week of the National Transmission Company South Africa, which will own and operate the country’s national electricity transmission system,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said as the Government of National Unity (GNU) begins its work, government will “sustain this momentum.”

 

The Citizen / Faizel Patel