Gordhan’s Forecast: Load Shedding Reality
In contrast to previous assurances by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan sends a sobering message. Gordhan urges South Africans to brace for continued load shedding, at least until the end of the year.
Eskom’s winter forecast paints a chilly picture, even suggesting the possibility of stage 8 load shedding. “We now know that we have to, as a population and as an economy, settle for load shedding of a significant order until the end of the year at least,” Gordhan states.
Despite this grim outlook, Gordhan assures citizens that efforts are underway to bolster Eskom’s generation capacity and introduce new capacity to ultimately end load shedding. The hopeful goal is achieving Eskom’s desired energy availability factor by March 2024.
Conflicting Signals: ANC’s Mixed Messaging
There’s been no shortage of contradictory communication from the ANC regarding South Africa’s energy crisis. Last week, Mbalula confidently declared that load shedding would become a thing of the past by year’s end. However, this optimism stands in stark contrast to Gordhan’s cautionary stance and Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa’s earlier statement that power outages would persist into next year, albeit with mitigated severity.
Eskom’s acting CEO, Calib Cassim, also serves a dose of reality. Speaking at a Johannesburg media briefing, Cassim alerted South Africans to the “extremely high” likelihood of stage 8 load shedding during peak winter hours, as power demand escalates.
A Cold Winter Ahead
As South Africa navigates its power conundrum, citizens are left facing an unenviable reality – more load shedding for the foreseeable future. It’s clear that the solution to this crisis won’t materialize overnight, and the challenge now lies in managing expectations and mitigating impact, even as the lights flicker.