Gordhan, De Ruyter set out energy plan going into election day

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Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Esa Alexander/Getty Images

While South Africans had to deal with stage 4 load shedding on Wednesday, Eskom hopes to return about 2 000 MW of power to the grid overnight, allowing the load shedding system likely to be downgraded from level 4 to level 3.

On Friday, a few more thousand MW are expected to come back on to the system, resulting in a likely downgrade to stage 2. The aim is to reach a stage where no load shedding is needed sometime over the weekend. 

This was the scenario painted by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter during a media briefing on Wednesday evening on the state of the grid. 

Eskom had to resort to level 4 due to the breakdown in several units at the generation plants, but also because of delays in the return of units that were out for maintenance and have not come back successfully.

At the same time, Gordhan repeatedly gave the assurance that, unless an unexpected event occurs, there will not be load shedding going into the elections on Monday, 1 November.

"Eskom and the government are doing everything possible to ensure elections can go ahead without disruption," said Gordhan. 

He added that not only are faults sometimes outside of Eskom's control, but sometimes due to human error. At the same time, he cautioned that Eskom should not be treated as a "political football".

He pointed out that Eskom was a key target during the state capture era and lots of time, money and effort now have to be spent on its recovery.

"Far more needs to be done in terms of the energy system in SA to reach a point of energy security for economic growth," said Gordhan.

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