Can Eskom fulfil its plan to Keep South Africans warm this winter?


If the words of Acting CEO of Eskom, Brian Molefe, are anything to go by, South Africans will be enjoying uninterrupted power supply this winter.

The troubled utility company has been in turmoil since its old power assets started giving way, forcing many South Africans into perpetual blackouts. For the last seven month, there have been cases of power cuts reported in many part of Africa’s most advanced country, resulting in slower GDP growth and economic activities. It has been employing load shedding strategy as an interim solution. However, in a statement released on Eskom official website earlier today, the company revealed that it was keen to ditch the load shedding strategy, as it has enough capacity to meet national.

Winter officially started yesterday in South Africa, and Koeberg’s unit 1 power station has returned to full operation. Eskom believes this, and investments in nuclear and other renewable energy sources, will enable it meet its goal of keeping South Africans warm.

Despite these claims, regions such as Melkbosstrand, Paarl, Soweto have reported contrary experiences. “Why is all of Melkbos without power?” tweeted a resident of Melkobs. The broke power utility company, which has been advised by experts to allow private sector participation also supplies neighboring countries such as Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

Meanwhile, unions and civil society groups earlier today in Johannesburg held an electricity crisis conference tagged “Will this be a winter without power?” Speaking on the lingering power crisis, United Association of South Africa (UASA) Brian Muir said that the workers were united and are condemning the war room’s slow response and management of the crisis. “There is no transparency and we don’t know as South Africans what is happening behind closed doors.”

Also, with an unstable leadership–two of its Chief Executive Officers, Dan Marokane and TShediso Matona, were recently suspended–achieving an uninterrupted power supply through winter remains uncertain.

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