We're aiming to lower load shedding by year's end, Ramaphosa tells ANC leaders at lekgotla

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: Alfonso Nqunjana/News24
President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: Alfonso Nqunjana/News24
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa told ANC leaders at a lekgotla load shedding was crippling the economy, investment and contributing to crime. 
  • Ramaphosa said the ANC wanted to end load shedding or lower its impact by the end of the year. 
  • The lekgotla was expected to outline ideas on how to resolve the country's energy problems along with several other socio-economic issues. 
  • Click here for the latest news, analysis and opinion on the ongoing electricity woes.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told ANC leaders at the start of the party's lekgotla the aim is to lower the stages of load shedding while Eskom deals with a maintenance backlog. 

Ramaphosa said the country's energy crisis was dire because it affected the economy and investment and, in many instances, caused a rise in crime. 

He told the lekgotla the party had to prioritise new ideas and other energy plans on how the country could resolve the load-shedding crisis. 

The two-day lekgotla in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, is expected to end on Monday. 

It will focus on dealing with areas the ANC needs to improve. The first being the country's load shedding woes. 

A presentation on the government's plan to deal with Eskom was expected at the meeting.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was expected to give a presentation at the lekgotla on the energy plan for the country. 

An energy plan compiled in July 2022 was being implemented but would take some time for the effects to be realised, Ramaphosa said.

He added in the meantime, citizens had to swallow the truth that load shedding would not end soon, but the aim was to lower it. 

Interventions include sourcing more power supply from independent power producers and other sources. 

Ramaphosa said:

These interventions will take some time to have an effect, and we must be honest with the load shedding - in one form or another - which will be with us for some time.

"Our objective is to lower the stages of load shedding to the lower levels while we address the overall challenge of ensuring the security of energy supply.

"We need to explain that, in addition to the historical reasons for load shedding, another factor contributing to the current levels of load shedding is Eskom's effort to correct past mistakes.

"Eskom has intensified its maintenance programme to reduce unplanned breakdowns and extend the life of power plants," Ramaphosa said. 

He also addressed what he believed was confusion on whether the country was abandoning coal at the expense of renewable energy.

Ramaphosa said the government was not prepared to abandon coal. 

"We also need to address the perception that we are called upon to make a trade-off between energy security and a just transition to a low-carbon economy, that we must make a choice between coal and renewable energy.

READ | Ramaphosa allies dominate ANC national working committee selection

"We must remember that South Africa's future mix of energy sources is outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 [IRP19]. 

"It envisages a diversity of energy sources, including coal, renewables, nuclear, gas, hydro, storage, bio-mass and other forms of energy.

"In terms of the IRP19, several coal-fired power stations are due to be decommissioned between now and 2030, as they have reached the end of their life cycle." 

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula told the media on the sidelines of the lekgotla the party aimed to end load shedding by the end of the year or reduce it.

"We are looking forward to reducing the stages to stage 2. Our goal is to end load shedding by the end of the year and even before the end of the year, given the packages we seek to implement to end this crisis.

"We are discussing this crisis here and will give the government a precise outline of what they need to do," Mbalula said. 

Eskom board chairperson Mpho Makwana recently warned permanent stage 2 or 3 load shedding might be implemented for the next two years.

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