Ramaphosa claims big load shedding win – but no victory lap just yet

 ·13 May 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his administration’s emergency “Energy Action Plan” introduced in 2022 is working – but it’s still too soon to claim victory over load shedding, with the risk of outages remaining.

In his weekly letter to the public, Ramaphosa celebrated the fact that South Africa has been load-shedding-free for a month and a half, attributing the win to collective efforts from all sectors of society.

From Eskom, sustained improvements to its generating fleet due to a rigorous maintenance regime over the past few months have led to losses due to unplanned outages reducing by 9% between April 2023 and March 2024, adding the equivalent of 4400MW of capacity to the national grid.

“Through dedicated support from our law enforcement agencies and the National Prosecuting Authority, great strides are being made in rooting out corruption at Eskom. Work is continuing in disrupting criminal syndicates and protecting our power stations from sabotage,” he said.

The private sector has also stepped in, with strong partnerships with businesses and the support of other social partners enabling the deployment of valuable resources and expertise.

South Africans at large have also made an impact, with the capacity of rooftop solar having reached over 5000MW, more than doubling in just twelve months. This has helped to alleviate pressure on the national grid, the president said.

While crediting a collective effort to beat load shedding in South Africa, Ramaphosa also claimed wins for his administration.

He talked up the emergency Energy Action Plan, which was introduced after load shedding hit crisis levels in the country.

He also lauded the removal of the licensing threshold for new power generation projects (after years of the government refusing to do so), as well as various tax incentives for driving up new capacity.

“Load shedding has been reduced due to a combination of all of these measures: fixing Eskom, unlocking private investment in energy generation, accelerating the procurement of new capacity and supporting rooftop solar,” he said,

However, the president cautioned against claiming victory too soon, saying that “we must be clear that we are not out of the woods yet”.

“The risk of load shedding remains,” he said. “We must, therefore, all continue to play our part by using electricity sparingly and paying for the electricity that we use.”

“What we can say for sure is that our plan is working. We are determined to stay the course and to continue this work until the energy crisis is brought to an end once and for all,” he said.

Read: Cities planning for load shedding ‘after the elections’

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