17 March 2019

South Africa: 'Stage 4 Load Shedding Is Unacceptable, Disruptive to Economy' - Gordhan

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has said that his department and National Treasury will assist embattled power utility Eskom to fast-track the procurement of "essential goods and services" required to urgently repair generating units at local stations.

South Africans suffered two days of load shedding over the weekend. Eskom has said Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented on Monday as it battles generation constraints. Load shedding may also take place on Tuesday.

In a statement on Sunday evening Gordhan said "greater urgency needs to be applied to acquire equipment necessary for urgent maintenance".

"We agree with South Africans that the continuation of frequent load shedding, and in particular Stage 4 load shedding, is unacceptable and disruptive to our economy," he said.

This comes after a meeting between Gordhan, officials from the department of public enterprises, Eskom board members and senior management.

Gordhan did not say what goods and services were urgently needed, or how much the procurement would cost.

The minister added that closer examination of the quality of coal delivered to and accepted at Eskom power stations is required.

The age of SA's ageing fleet of power stations is also playing a role in load shedding.

"The South African public is requested to understand that many power stations are between 37 and 50 years old and many operate at sub-optimal levels due to their age," read the statement.

Fin24

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