WRAP | Ramaphosa's promise to SA: 'It won't be a dark Christmas'

2019-12-11 17:00

There has been a measure of sabotage involved in Eskom's load shedding crisis, says President Cyril Ramaphosa, but he has promised that management was hard at work to ensure the lights remain on over the Christmas and New Year festive period.

Cyril Ramaphosa (Getty Images)

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Last Updated at 19:35
11 Dec 17:47

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced to the nation that there will be no load shedding over the Christmas festive period.

Ramaphosa said, among some other challenges facing Eskom, sabotage was also at play, which led to the country being plunged into darkness.

Although Eskom executives were unable to indicate when the power utility would be able to end load shedding, they are working to stabilise the situation.


EDITORIAL: 'Shocked' Ramaphosa can no longer dither on hard Eskom decisions

Ramaphosa: 'There has been a measure of sabotage' behind power cuts

From broken ribs to breathing problems: For some South Africans, load shedding is a health hazard

'I am not the minister responsible for Eskom' - Mantashe says he is not to blame for blackouts

Melanie Verwoerd: My f*k, Eskom!

11 Dec 16:42

Oberholzer says everyone at Eskom is taking accountability for the current load shedding crisis.

"We are sincere, honest and transparent," he says, adding, "we apologise for our blunders ... we are committed to getting us out of where we are".

11 Dec 16:26
Eskom executives can't say when the power utility will be able to end load shedding, but note that December 17 is a very important day after President Ramaphosa announced that there will be no load shedding between that date and January 13.

11 Dec 16:23

6 times Cyril Ramaphosa promised progress on Eskom - and stressed its urgent importance - including in 2015

South Africa experienced stage 6 load shedding for the first time in history this week - long after President Cyril Ramaphosa started stressing the urgency of fixing it. Ramaphosa has been promising progress - and in one notable case a solution - on Eskom for years.

11 Dec 16:21
Head of Generation at Eskom, Bheki Nxumalo says units that are coming back from refurbishment and those that were went offline last week will be back on the grid to ensure that there is no load shedding between 17 December to 13 January 2020.  

11 Dec 16:11

11 Dec 16:06

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer now speaking apologises for the "embarrassment" of having to implement stage 6 load shedding.

He says the focus now is to get Medupi and Kusile to perform optimally. 

11 Dec 16:00
Ramaphosa concludes by saying that as government, they are going to ensure that the energy in the country is secured and that Eskom plays its role.

11 Dec 15:57
Ramaphosa says he has been open with investors about issues the country is dealing with, Eskom being one of them, and has been met with optimism by investors who still state their intentions to invest in the country.

11 Dec 15:51

Ramaphosa says renewable energy has added extra capacity to the grid.

Some in the private sector have put forward offers to self-generate. He says these proposals will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

11 Dec 15:46

The sabotage that took place was not the determining factor in South Africans experiencing load shedding, but it compounded existing issues with the system, says Ramaphosa.

The president calls for swift action against those behind the sabotage.

11 Dec 15:43

Ramaphosa : 'There has been a measure of sabotage' behind power cuts

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that sabotage contributed to recent uninterrupted load shedding.

Ramaphosa is briefing the media on Eskom after cutting short an official visit to Egypt. 

The president said that while a number of factors contributed to recent rotational power cuts, including heavy rains, unplanned outages and the age of power stations, about 2 000MW of power was also lost due to an act of sabotage. 

11 Dec 15:39

"Our government has been working to make sure Kusile and Medupi power stations are able to generate sufficient electricity for the country", says Ramaphosa, who admits that the energy availability factor is around 68% now. The aim is to have it at a higher level.

11 Dec 15:33

11 Dec 15:29

Ramaphosa reveals that Eskom's board has promised to stabilise the national grid to avoid load shedding.

Eskom management have also been directed to cancel their leave until there is full stability on the grid.

11 Dec 15:26

11 Dec 15:25

Ramaphosa on sabotage at Eskom: ''What has also come out as a great concern is that there has been a measure of sabotage. sabotage that has led to loss of during this period of 2000mw where someone in the Eskom system disconnected one of the instruments that finally led to one of the boilers tripping and us losing as much as 2000 I think it was two boilers''.

11 Dec 15:22

"Our systems are unpredictable," says Ramaphosa.

He says maintenance processes at Eskom need to be prepared for the challenges in the system.

"Accountability is needed from management as well. We want them to be more proactive."

11 Dec 15:17

We apologise to the people of our country, says Ramaphosa.

He adds that load shedding has touched a raw nerve. Electricity is a key role player in our economic fortunes.

He says it was important for him to come back from his trip in Egypt to come and here full explanations as to why there has been load shedding.

11 Dec 14:35

As the ANC addresses the media post their NEC meeting at the weekend, the nation awaits a media briefing following a meeting by President Ramaphosa, Cabinet ministers and the Eskom board.

Ramaphosa cut an official visit to Egypt short yesterday, opting to return and deal with matters affecting the power utility.

11 Dec 14:18

11 Dec 14:13

As SOE's continue to battle financially, the ANC revealed at its briefing that they have discussed several options to get them out of their financial rut.

11 Dec 14:09

11 Dec 14:06

11 Dec 13:40

The ANC NEC has noted with concern the situation confronting SOE's, including Eskom, said ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

The NEC has asked government to come up with practical steps in dealing with the crisis at Eskom.

11 Dec 12:38

'I am not the minister responsible for Eskom' - Mantashe says he is not to blame for blackouts

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says South Africans should not blame him for Eskom's woes, pointing out that the power utility is actually part of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's area of responsibility.

The minister, who faced widespread criticism this week, was speaking on the sidelines of the South African Communist Party's (SACP) special national congress in Kempton Park on Tuesday.

Deputy President David Mabuza, who also attended the congress, apologised to the country for the "inconvenience" caused by rolling blackouts, known widely as load shedding.

11 Dec 12:26

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11 Dec 10:26

11 Dec 10:23

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11 Dec 10:21

11 Dec 10:19

Eskom's Oberholzer: 'Grid has been abused for far too long and we’re now reaping the reward' 

South Africa's national electricity grid has been abused for too long and both Eskom and the country are now suffering the consequences of a management approach that all but ignored the health of the system.

"The electricity system has been abused for far too long. For at least ten years the approach has been to provide electricity at all costs. We can't get way from the consequences of that, and we’re now faced with an unreliable, unpredictable national grid," Eskom's chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer told News24 in an interview.

According to various sources inside Eskom and sources with direct knowledge of the power utility's operations, a combination of failing and old systems and infrastructure, adverse weather conditions and maintenance backlogs is to blame for the current wave of outages.

11 Dec 10:18

Gordhan, Mantashe out of touch with South Africa's frustration over Eskom - Cosatu 

Gwede Mantashe and Pravin Gordhan have demonstrated they do not understand the degree of frustration faced by South Africans, Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said on the sidelines of the SACP's special national congress on Tuesday. 

Mantashe and Gordhan, the ministers of minerals and energy and public enterprises, respectively, have been tasked by President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with the ongoing energy crisis.

South Africans have been living in a state of uncertainty over the declining state of state-owned enterprises, none so than power utility Eskom. 

11 Dec 10:18


Eskom: Multiple systems failures but grid remains stable and 'won’t collapse'

Eskom, the beleaguered national electricity utility, is suffering from multiple system failures at power stations around the country brought about by poor planning, old and malfunctioning infrastructure, an acute lack of skills and a loss of institutional expertise.

Internal Eskom status updates reveal that a number of power stations across the country - including Koeberg nuclear power station, three turbines at two open cycle gas turbines on the west and south coasts, and various power stations in the northern parts of the country - have recently suffered a series of breakdowns, shutdowns and planned outages.

But, according to three sources inside with direct access to discussions at senior levels in Eskom, the national power grid is not currently in danger of collapse because the system includes a series of fail-safe mechanisms to prevent a total shutdown. If the grid starts to suffer a series of shutdowns which threaten it, large cities and towns are automatically removed to stabilise the system, News24 was told.

11 Dec 10:18


Deep in the heart of Eskom: Union tells of long hours, plummeting morale 

Union members at Eskom say conditions have become more gruelling at work since the reintroduction of load shedding.

On Monday evening, Eskom announced that it would escalate load shedding to stage 6, an unprecedented move which allow for 6 000 MW to be shed. This was an indication that Eskom had lost over 40% of its generating capacity, energy analyst Chris Yelland said.

Eskom attributed the breakdowns to aging infrastructure, coupled with flooding at some power stations due to heavy rains. 

11 Dec 10:18


It is our own failure that led to load shedding - Blade Nzimande

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande says the tripartite alliance must take responsibility for recent load shedding.

"The 1998 energy policy told us we needed to do certain things even in the early 2000s. We were told Eskom power stations must be maintained, must be renewed, we did not do that because we wanted to privatise.

It's our own failure that is leading to this load shedding," Nzimande said during his political report address at the SACP's special national congress. 

11 Dec 10:18


Ramaphosa set to meet Eskom leadership after decision to cut Egypt trip short 

The Presidency has confirmed to News24 President Cyril Ramaphosa will cut his trip to Egypt short, returning home to deal with the ongoing power crisis.

According to Eyewitness News, Ramaphosa is set to meet with Eskom's leadership on Wednesday.

News24 understands he was urged to cut his trip short by senior ANC officials. 

11 Dec 10:18


Medupi and Kusile performing worse than some of Eskom's older power stations 

The multi-billion rand mega power stations Eskom commissioned in 2007, Medupi and Kusile, should take a large portion of the blame for the power utility's failure to keep the country supplied with electricity.

Energy expert Chris Yelland notes that there are several issues with the two megaprojects that were initially designed as part of a series of undertakings intended to boost Eskom's generation capacity by roughly 50%. Chief among the problems is the fact that even when the incomplete stations are running, their production levels mirror or fall short of some of Eskom's oldest power plants, he said.

He likened this to buying a new car, and expecting it to run very well for 85% of the time that you own it - only to find that you bought a lemon, which runs acceptably just 60% of the time. 

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