South Africa: Darker and Darker Days Into an Uncertain Future

The future looks gloomy for South Africans after Eskom announced on Sunday morning that stage 6 will remain in place indefinitely.

And Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter said there is a risk that load shedding may be extended beyond stage 6.

“We will definitely have a high stage of load shedding for the week,” he said during a virtual media briefing on Sunday morning.

De Ruyter promised that, “all hands are on deck” as the competent Eskom staffers are trying to prevent a total collapse of the system.

Stage 6 was implemented early on Sunday morning after the tripping of a generation unit at Kusile and Kriel power stations in the early hours of Sunday morning.

De Ruyter said the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had a meeting and decided to approach Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for 1,000 megawatts of electricity needed to bring stability to the power supply.

But he said not all of that will be immediately available, which could plunge the country into more darkness.

He said there is no evidence that the cause for the recurring power outages is sabotage.

The announcement of stage 6 triggered an immediate backlash against Dr Ruyter and the entire Eskom board.

Many South Africans took to social media and called for De Ruyter to step down amid the current crisis. He was appointed in 2019.

Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said they are working to ensure that 18 generators return to service this week.

He would, however, not be drawn into making a commitment to South Africans as to when the current stage of load shedding will ease.

The power utility promised to keep South Africans updated on the status of the utility in the coming days.

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