Load shedding: NEC proposes significant changes to Eskom operations in bid to address crisis

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The ANC NEC met over the weekend to address the rolling blackouts.  Photo: Getty Images
The ANC NEC met over the weekend to address the rolling blackouts. Photo: Getty Images
  • The ANC is proposing a shift in how its government deployees address the power utility's day-to-day running. 
  • The call comes after the NEC met over the weekend to address the rolling blackouts. 
  • It outlined the action plan to deal with the recommendations of the findings of the State Capture Inquiry.

The ANC's national executive committee (NEC) has proposed a raft of changes in the government's day-to-day running of the ailing state-owned enterprise.

The proposed changes form part of the ANC's frantic attempt to address the Eskom crisis, which has seen the power utility plunge the nation into Stage 6 blackouts.

According to ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, the NEC urged the government and Eskom to look into measures such as increasing maintenance and improving the availability of existing supply as well as the acquisition of appropriately skilled employees and experienced mentors in an attempt to address the current crisis. 

Mabe  said the NEC encouraged its government deployees to "facilitate private investment in new generation capacity".

Mabe said:

There were also calls to speed up the repurposing of power stations with alternate energy sources and to accelerate the procurement of battery storage.

He said the NEC considered the current rolling blackouts to be of grave concern and had a "devastating impact on households, communities and businesses, and on national prospects for economic growth".

As such, he emphasised the need for immediate interventions to alleviate the plight of South Africans, as well as the pursuit of longer-term systemic interventions to ensure sustainable energy security.

Mabe said calls were also made for municipalities to be empowered to procure additional electricity as well as encouraging businesses and households to invest in renewable energies. 

The NEC highlighted that the ANC-led government should speed up reforms in the energy sector, allowing for more power to be introduced into the national grid.

Mabe announced the outcomes following a meeting of the NEC over three days.

READ | Eskom crisis: ANC NEC hears calls for state of emergency, moving power utility to energy dept

He said there were calls for ANC deployees and Eskom to ensure continuous communication with communities affected by load shedding and load reduction - to ease public outrage. 

The NEC urged the government to act decisively in investigating and acting on reports of sabotage of the country's generation and distribution infrastructure. 

The ANC has, as such, called for load shedding to be confined to lower stages and to be phased out in the medium to long-term.

Mabe said:

Furthermore, the NEC called for a campaign against illegal connections to eliminate load reduction, which is placing an added burden on communities, and call on all South Africans to join energy-saving measures to alleviate stress on the national grid.
 

Beyond the load shedding crisis, the NEC also discussed the recently released final report of the State Capture Inquiry. 

According to Mabe, the NEC noted that "the report also makes critical findings about our movement and its government, and individual members of the African National Congress".

He said the NEC received a presentation by the task team, led by former minister Jeff Radebe, on an action plan to deal with the recommendations of the Zondo Commission.

Mabe said the NEC noted that some of the observations and findings were indeed unsettling, but it vowed that "the movement will honestly and openly deal with all aspects of the commission's report".

According to the outcomes, the NEC "proposed constitutional, legislative and structural changes were referred to relevant NEC committees for deliberation".

ALSO READ | Why we have Stage 6 load shedding, and why we should expect load shedding till August

It also resolved to complete this work by the end of August 2022.

On recommendations for action by specific entities, Mabe said the NEC agreed that these are either part of the normal mandate of these entities, which they should act on or be directed at specific industry bodies.

On findings regarding weaknesses and lapses by the ANC, he said: "The ANC will, among others, review its policies with respect to cadre deployment policy and practice; party funding principles; organisational discipline and accountability; and parliamentary oversight."

The task team will make recommendations on key principles in each of these areas.

He also said individuals mentioned or implicated in the report, whether current or former leaders and ANC members, should, without prejudice, immediately take the initiative and present themselves to the integrity commission.


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