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    Electricity minister says load shedding reprieve ‘has nothing to do’ with EFF national shutdown

    March 21, 2023 - Citizen Reporter


      Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says load shedding was not suspended on Monday due to the protests which took place across the country.

      South Africans received some unexpected reprieve from load shedding on Monday as members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and other political parties took to the streets for a national shutdown.

      According to Eskom, the rolling blackouts were temporarily halted since there was a lower than expected demand for electricity.

      Stage 2 load shedding will, however, return on Tuesday, with Eskom set to implement the power cuts starting at 4pm.

      'Meaningful changes'

      The suspension of load shedding comes as Ramokgopa kicked off his tour of Eskom power stations.

      Speaking to the media at the Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga, the electricity minister dismissed the suggestion that load shedding was not implemented as a result of the EFF's demonstrations.

      READ MOREMost of Bloemfontein in the dark after substation explosion

      "It has nothing to do with the EFF... it's a once off protest," he told Newzroom Afrika.

      "To get to a stage where people find it very strange to have electricity for a day or two days in succession underscores the gravity of the [energy crisis]."

      With the country having experienced lower stages of load shedding this past weekend, Ramakgopa attributed this to the increase in energy availability factor (EAF) at some power stations.

      "Our interventions on resolving load shedding doesn't start with the minister of electricity. The energy action plan has been there... all that we are doing is accelerating it and of course we can see that six power stations are beginning to pick [and] the energy availability factor is going up.

      "So it's [a result] of the efforts that we have been making and hopefully we will start to seeing meaningful and real changes at all these power stations," the minister continued.

      Ramokgopa is expected to visit the Kusile and Kendal power stations on Tuesday, then Tutuka and Camden the following day.

      On Thursday, the minister will head to Lethabo power station in the Free State.

      He will also check in at Koeberg power station in Western Cape on Friday.

      Load shedding court case

      Meanwhile, the Pretoria High Court on Monday heard the legal case brought by the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and 18 others to declare load shedding unconstitutional.

      The applicants are seeking an order compelling government to exempt essential services like public health institutions and schools, among others, from load shedding.

      During proceedings, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, who is representing the applicants, blamed the ANC government's failure to both maintain the national grid and create new generation capacity.

      Ngcukaitobi argued that despite President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitment during his 2022 state of the nation address (Sona) to deal with the electricity crisis, government had "folded its arms and done nothing".

      He further said the president had an obligation to make sure that the constitutional right to electricity as stated in the Bill of Rights was fulfilled.

      The court case will continue until Friday.

      Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe


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