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Ramaphosa tells Eskom to stop targeting townships with prolonged blackouts

Andisiwe Makinana Political correspondent
President Cyril Ramaphosa has told public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to immediately attend to what he calls Eskom’s 'targeting of townships' with load-shedding. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has told public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to immediately attend to what he calls Eskom’s 'targeting of townships' with load-shedding. File photo.
Image: Jeffrey Abrahams

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants Eskom to stop prolonged power outages in the townships.

Ramaphosa told public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan to immediately attend to what he called Eskom’s “targeting of townships” with long hours of load-shedding.

He was speaking at the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday.

Ramaphosa touched on the matter while cautioning ANC members against blaming South Africans for load-shedding, saying the party should accept responsibility and act to repair the system.

“This is also about targeting areas where most of our people live, like townships and other places, for cut-offs, and I want our comrade Pravin to immediately have this attended to.

“We cannot have a situation where people or sections of Soweto, Mdantsane or wherever are targeted and become the weak link where load-shedding can easily be effected. That should not be happening — and it is long hours of load-shedding,” said Ramaphosa.

Besides the blackouts experienced throughout the country, Eskom has been implementing “load reduction” in areas such as Soweto “to avoid network overloading”.

The company previously said load reduction was implemented in high-density areas that are prone to illegal connections, meter bypasses and vandalism of electricity infrastructure. 

Load reduction has also been implemented in areas in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and some districts in KwaZulu-Natal as a mitigating factor in Eskom’s battle to keep up with increased equipment failure caused by overloading that costs the company millions to repair.

In September 2020, Eskom warned the overloaded system could cause substation and transformer explosions and posed a danger to people and property in affected areas.

Social media users have previously complained the load reduction strategy is unfairly targeting areas in which black people live, with Eskom accusing residents of not paying their bills even though people who lived in traditionally white areas also defaulted on payments.

TimesLIVE

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