S.Africa imposes severe power cuts ahead of election




  • In Business
  • 2019-02-11 14:56:29Z
  • By AFP
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that the debt-laden state power utility Eskom "is in crisis"
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that the debt-laden state power utility Eskom "is in crisis"  

Johannesburg (AFP) - South Africa on Monday introduced its most severe electricity rationing in nearly five years, presenting President Cyril Ramaphosa with a major political challenge just months ahead of the May general election.

The debt-laden state power utility Eskom is at the centre of the country's economic troubles and has been hit by allegations of government graft.

Ramaphosa last week admitted that "Eskom is in crisis and the risks it poses to South Africa are great."

Offices, shops, factories, traffic lights and private homes were hit on Monday by "load-shedding" -- scheduled power cuts to reduce usage.

The cuts were categorised as "stage 4", the highest severity level since March 2014.

"The power system is severely constrained, which is why after a long time we have had to implement stage 4 of load shedding," Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

"Since this morning we have unexpectedly lost six additional generating units which have put additional strain on the system," the company said in a statement.

Ramaphosa last week vowed to fight mismanagement and corruption at the utility, which has 419 billion rand ($30 billion) debt, by dividing it into generation, transmission and distribution divisions.

"Security of energy supply in our country is an absolute imperative... It could severely damage our economic and social development ambitions," Ramaphosa said in his state-of-the-nation address in Cape Town last week.

The country heads for polls on May 8, with the ruling ANC party keen to repair a fall in popularity in recent years.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, blamed Eskom's woes on government graft and said it would request an urgent parliamentary debate.

"These power failures can be placed squarely at the feet of the ANC, as it has been their looting and theft of the public's money that has left us in the dark," the party said.

"It is unacceptable that ordinary South Africans have to pay for the ANC's failures."

Eskom said the cuts would take 4,000 megawatts of demand out of the system to prevent its collapse.

It pleaded for residents and businesses to use electricity sparingly.

"Please switch off geysers (water heater) as well as all non-essential lighting and electricity appliances to assist in reducing demand," the utility said.

Phasiwe said the power outages were likely to continue until April.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Eskom Gets Record $4.9 Billion Bailout in South Africa's Budget
Eskom Gets Record $4.9 Billion Bailout in South Africa's Budget

Eskom will get a 69 billion rand ($4.9 billion) cash injection over the next three years to help service its debt and free up cash for operations, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in his budget speech Wednesday to lawmakers in Cape Town. "Pouring money directly into Eskom in its current form is like pouring water into a sieve," Mboweni said. The government's plans to reorganize Eskom and increase renewable energy purchases from private producers put it on a collision course with labor unions concerned about potential job losses.

VW South Africa targets record production in 2019: official
VW South Africa targets record production in 2019: official

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - German carmaker Volkswagen's South African unit expects to produce a record number of vehicles this year despite a sluggish domestic economy, power outages and looming talks with union members, its managing director said.

Highlights of South Africa's 2019 Annual Budget
Highlights of South Africa's 2019 Annual Budget

(Bloomberg) -- Below are the highlights of South Africa's 2019 annual budget released by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in Cape Town on Wednesday. ...

S.Africa to deliver budget faced with debt mountain and blackouts
S.Africa to deliver budget faced with debt mountain and blackouts

South Africa's Finance Minister Tito Mboweni faces a balancing act ahead of his maiden budget Wednesday to reassure investors over the country's troubled public electricity company without alienating union allies ahead of national elections. Mboweni will deliver his maiden budget to parliament in Cape Town at 1200 GMT.

No Easy Solution to Power-Producer Drain on South Africa Economy
No Easy Solution to Power-Producer Drain on South Africa Economy

Debt at Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has ballooned to 419 billion ($31 billion) and it's struggling to supply Africa's most-industrialized nation with enough power even as it weighs on finances, with most of its borrowings guaranteed by the state. Credit-ratings companies say Eskom is the biggest threat to an economy that hasn't expanded at more than 2 percent since 2013. Revenue collection is likely to undershoot targets again, economic growth is sluggish and unemployment is high, limiting the finance minister's room to help the producer by levying higher taxes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.