In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa has reassured South Africans that there is light at the end of the Eskom tunnel. On 11 April 2021 Eskom implemented Stage 2 loadshedding when Unit 5 tripped at Medupi Power Station wiping 700 MW from the national grid.
The light at the end of the loadshedding tunnel dimmed as more generation units tripped over the Easter weekend and Eskom was forced to implement Stage 4 loadshedding nationally.
In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa says the current phase of loadshedding is the “result of policy missteps and the impact of state capture over many years.” Ramaphosa writes: “To solve this intractable problem, we need to understand its roots. South Africa’s fleet of coal-fired power stations are old and their performance is deteriorating.”
“Despite warnings from energy experts about impending energy shortages nearly two decades ago, there was a delay in commissioning new generation capacity. When construction began on Medupi power station in Limpopo in 2007 it was the first power station to be built by Eskom in more than 20 years. Medupi has subsequently been beset by delays, costs overruns, and breakdowns due to design problems, with many of these challenges linked to allegations of corruption.”
[Blog] A stable and reliable supply of electricity is essential for almost every aspect of our daily lives and a necessary condition for economic growth. That is why we are focused on achieving energy security as one of our foremost priorities. Read more: https://t.co/lBAPLaNoZ1 pic.twitter.com/BBu2L6anHO
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) April 25, 2022
During a report back session to Members of Parliament, Eskom board member and head of Business Leadership SA, Busisiwe Mavuso walked out when she believed the current board and management were being blamed for all the failures they inherited at the power supplier.
In his newsletter, Ramaphosa reiterated his support for the board of Eskom and their turnaround strategy. “We owe the board and management of Eskom our full support as they work to turn the utility around. They have to keep the lights on while rebuilding Eskom as a viable entity that fulfills its developmental mandate as a state-owned enterprise, and positioning it for a just energy transition.”