Tintswalo in the dark, but ‘honest uncle Sputla’ promises reduced load-shedding by March

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has made new promises about ending load-shedding. File photo.
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has made new promises about ending load-shedding. File photo.
Image: Kgosientsho Ramokgopa/X

Minister in the Presidency for electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has again promised reduced load-shedding. This time he says power outages will be significantly eased from March, with a prediction of strengthened supply during the winter months.

Ramokgopa was speaking during the state of the nation address (Sona) debate on Tuesday. Much attention was on the minister after the country was plunged into stage 6 load-shedding shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government had a clear plan to end load-shedding in his Sona speech last week.

Referencing Ramaphosa's analogy of “Tintswalo”, a young South African who was born in 1994 and benefited from post-apartheid systems, Ramokgopa conceded load-shedding was problematic in economic development of young people. 

“To Tintswalo, as your honest uncle Sputla, I know of your anger, I feel your pain, and I understand your cries, that load-shedding is contracting and closing your capabilities. It is narrowing your capabilities,” he said. 

“I draw counsel from [former ANC] president Oliver Tambo when he said: ‘The end is glorious, it is peaceful. The intervening period is dark and bitter and finds its glory in acts of struggle.’ Tintswalo, I say the end of load-shedding is indeed in sight, the future is bright.”

The minister promised load-shedding intensity would be eased by March and during the coming winter season. 

We will begin reducing planned maintenance from 6,000MW to 5,000MW in April and to around 3,500MW in May, a threshold that will be sustained during the winter demand period,” he said.

Ramokgopa said since September 2023, planned maintenance increased sharply. “This meant that whereas we could have opted for the short-term gain of reducing load-shedding, since then we opted for the more enduring approach of ramping up planned maintenance.

“This will ensure that going into the winter of 2024, the fleet's reliability will have been significantly strengthened. This also means that heading into the winter peak demand period, we can claw back up to 2,000MW by tapering planned maintenance and strengthening available capacity.”

Watch the full first day of the Sona debate here:

Debate on president’s state of the nation address.


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