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SA is one step away from Stage 8 load shedding as breakdowns, cash shortages lead to disaster

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Eskom CEO André de Ruyter is pictured in profile during a media briefing.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter is pictured in profile during a media briefing.
News24/File

South Africa came closer to Stage 8 load shedding than it has ever been this week, as breakdowns and a lack of cash coupled with high levels of planned maintenance created the perfect storm at Eskom.

Senior officials at the power utility are desperately trying to avoid introducing Stage 8 rotational power cuts – no electricity for 12 to 14 hours a day – for the first time, according to an Eskom official who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity. Eskom has had to scrape the bottom of its cash reserves to find rands for more diesel to run the expensive open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), the official added. But the money is fast running out.

In November 2022, Eskom chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer gave the country a frank but alarming assessment. The power utility had already spent more than R12 billion on diesel to stave off the worst levels of load shedding in the current 2022-'23 financial year.

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I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 606 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 3341 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 685 votes
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