Electricity minister denies EFF's 'national shutdown' had anything to do with loadshedding suspension

“It has nothing to do with the EFF. It [was] a one-off protest.”

Minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
Minister of electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has denied the EFF's “national shutdown” protest had anything to do with loadshedding being suspended this week. 

Eskom suspended loadshedding from Friday until Wednesday morning citing an improvement in generation capacity. Stage 2 loadshedding will be implemented until 4pm and stage 3 will then be implemented until 5am on Thursday.

The suspension of the blackouts came as members of the EFF and other political parties took to the streets for a “national shutdown” on Monday. 

Speaking to the media at the Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga, Ramokgopa dismissed suggestions that power cuts were not implemented as a result of the EFF’s demonstrations.

“It has nothing to do with the EFF. It [was] a one-off protest,” he said. “We will continue for the next seven days uninterrupted going to these power stations and trying to understand the scale of the problem.”

“To get to a stage where people find it very strange to have electricity for a day or two days in succession emphasises or underscores the gravity of the [energy crisis] problem,” said Ramokgopa.

“Our interventions on resolving loadshedding don't start with the minister of electricity. The energy action plan has been there, all that we are doing is accelerating it and of course, we can see that six power stations are beginning to pick [up and] the energy availability factor is going up.”

Last week, Eskom said there had been notable gradual improvements in its power generation fleet. 

According to the power utility, over the past week six coal-fired power stations achieved an energy availability factor (EAF) of 70%, a milestone it said was last achieved in May 2022.

Three of the power stations, Camden, Duvha and Matla, have been on a sustained upward trend as a result of a reduction of plant breakdowns and the return to service of a number of units that were on unplanned breakdowns.

It said the other three, Lethabo, Matimba and Medupi, have been experiencing continued improvements and remain among its three best-performing power stations.

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