South Africa's Electricity Minister Refutes Claims of Using Load Shedding for Electioneering

South Africa's Electricity Minister dismisses claims of using load shedding as an election gimmick, highlighting progress in addressing the power crisis, but cautions more work is needed.

Quadri Adejumo
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South Africa's Electricity Minister Refutes Claims of Using Load Shedding for Electioneering

South Africa's Electricity Minister Refutes Claims of Using Load Shedding for Electioneering

Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, South Africa's Electricity Minister, has dismissed reports suggesting that the government is using load shedding as an electioneering tool ahead of the upcoming general elections. The minister outlined a positive trend in minimizing the intensity of rolling blackouts, attributing it to ongoing maintenance efforts, increased use of renewables, sustained generation capacity, and adequate reserves.

South Africa has experienced 26 consecutive days without rolling blackouts, a significant milestone in the country's efforts to address its electricity crisis. Ramokgopa urged political parties to refrain from using the issue of rolling blackouts for political point-scoring, accusing some parties of attempting to "inflate the environment" and "exploit load shedding" as part of their campaign strategies. He stated that these parties have been "neutralized" by the recent reprieve from power cuts and are now resorting to "baseless theories" not based on facts.

Why this matters: The electricity crisis has been a major issue in South Africa, with frequent load shedding affecting businesses and households across the country. The government's ability to address this crisis and provide reliable power supply is crucial for the nation's economic growth and stability.

The Electricity Minister emphasized that the last 26 days without power cuts demonstrate the effectiveness of the government's energy action plan. While acknowledging that the improvement may be minor, Ramokgopa stressed that it will contribute to ending the energy crisis. However, he cautioned that the country is not out of the "challenging situation" just yet, indicating that more effort is required to further reduce the intensity of rolling blackouts.

Ramokgopa also addressed concerns raised by the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding Eskom's financial management, particularly the exceeding of the budget allocated for diesel in open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs). The DA expressed apprehensions about the sustainability of the current electricity supply improvements, suggesting that the prolonged use of OCGTs could mask underlying issues.

Looking ahead, Eskom's senior manager in the generation unit, Eric Shunmagam, announced that the winter outlook will be disclosed on Friday, providing insights into the anticipated electricity supply during the colder months. Ramokgopa reiterated his commitment to maintaining a relationship of honesty with the South African public, emphasizing that while the recent reprieve from load shedding is a positive development, the country must remain focused on resolving the electricity crisis in a lasting manner.

Key Takeaways

  • Electricity Minister dismisses claims of load shedding as election gimmick.
  • South Africa experiences 26 consecutive days without rolling blackouts.
  • Electricity crisis remains a major issue, but government's energy plan shows progress.
  • Concerns raised over Eskom's financial management and sustainability of improvements.
  • Electricity Minister promises continued transparency and focus on resolving the crisis.