The African National Congress has expressed concern at the unexpected return of load shedding to South Africa's national grid, but spared no ire for the Democratic Alliance, slamming the official opposition’s petition for an alternate energy plan as opportunistic.
The DA's petition appears on the home page of opposition party’s official website, under the heading "Give South Africa its power back. Support the DA’s plan to save Eskom, before it takes the entire country down with it".
The plan itself proposes that the party’s Cheaper Energy Bill be supported for enactment. The bill prioritises a freeze on building at Kusile coal power station, the allowing metros to source power directly from independent power producers, diversifying coal sources for Eskom and improvements to revenue collection.
The petition has a target of 100 000 signatures and had over 69 000 early on Thursday evening.
The governing party said it frowned upon what it called "desperate measures" by the DA to "hijack the electricity situation in the country for political point scoring".
"It has come to our attention that the party is circulating an online petition calling on people to support its so-called plan to save Eskom," the ANC statement said.
The ANC statement said Eskom's position as the supplier of 95% of South Africa’s electricity, coupled with primary energy costs increasing by an estimated 17% in the past financial year, gave impetus to the need for government to meet with the coal industry to find common ground on coal pricing.
"We welcome the announcement by Cabinet that it has approved the promulgation of the Integrated Resource Plan, which is South Africa's policy blueprint for the electricity sector. The plan proposes interventions to ensure the country responds to the energy needs for the next decade," the statement said.
Signs of collapse
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters released a statement on Thursday which said the appointment of Eskom chair, Jabu Mabuza, as acting CEO of Eskom was the strongest indication yet of the collapse of governance at Eskom.
"We have warned in the past that the continued interference by the Minister in the affairs and management of Eskom will lead to a complete collapse. This is because the idea from the beginning is for Gordhan to privatise whatever is left of Eskom," the EFF statement said.
The EFF statement called for the cancellation of all purchasing power agreements with IPPs and "evergreen contracts" with coal suppliers with immediate effect.
The party called for maximum collection of revenue from companies that owe Eskom and for all coal mines that belong to Eskom to be brought under the operational control of a state mining company.