- South Africans have once again been hit by power cuts – long after President Cyril Ramaphosa started stressing the urgency of fixing it.
- Ramaphosa has been promising progress – and in one notable case a solution – on Eskom for years.
- Here is what he has had to say about load shedding and the urgent importance of fixing Eskom.
- For more visit Business Insider South Africa.
* This article has been updated below.
South Africa's government is making real progress in dealing with load shedding, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday – as the country expects another week of high-stage electricity rationing.
In his regular Monday-morning newsletter to the nation, Ramaphosa said that "while load shedding appears to worsen, the reality is that we have already taken several important actions to address the shortfall in electricity supply."
- a wage agreement between Eskom and the unions representing its workers
- law enforcement work "to tackle sabotage, theft and fraud at Eskom to address the threat that these criminal actions pose to the electricity system"
- the "simple reform" of allowing anyone to build up to 100MW of private generation capacity without a licence
- Eskom making land available next to power stations for private investors’ use in building renewable energy generating plants
That is not enough, though, he acknowledged.
"Over the past two weeks, we have been working with the relevant Ministers and senior officials on a range of additional measures to accelerate all efforts to increase our electricity supply. The message is clear: this is no time for business as usual. We need to act boldly to make load shedding a thing of the past."While the measures we have already taken will secure the supply of reliable and affordable electricity into the future, we have been looking at what additional measures we can take now to bring that goal closer."
Then he added another to a list of promises about load shedding that goes back years.
Ramaphosa has promised that load shedding would be a thing of the past, in clear and simple terms, since at least 2015.
In 2019 Ramaphosa, his administration made clear, would take a very direct interest in the ongoing electricity crisis, as record-setting stage 6 electricity rationing was implemented in December of that year.
"Our immediate priority is to get as much generating capacity back on line within the shortest possible time. Eskom's emergency response command centre and technical teams are working around the clock to fix multiple breakdowns," he told angry and frustrated South Africans at the time.
Here are 7 things Cyril Ramaphosa has said about Eskom.
"We will soon be completing the detailed work and consultations needed to finalise these further measures. We will then, in the coming days, be able to announce a comprehensive set of actions to achieve much faster progress in tackling load shedding."
Cyril Ramaphosa, in the 11 July 2022 edition of his "From the Desk of the President" newsletter titled "We can and will do more to end load shedding"
“Eskom has made much progress in implementing its nine-point plan, ensuring better maintenance of its general fleet, reducing costs and ensuring adequate reserves of coal.”
Cyril Ramaphosa, State of the Nation Address, February 2019.
“Eskom’s contribution to the health of our economy is too great for it to be allowed to fail . . . Restoring energy security for the country is an absolute imperative.”
Cyril Ramaphoa, at the Cape Town Minining Indaba, February 2019.
"We want to put Eskom on a sustainable operational path and we have seen great improvements. We are closely engaged with the situation at Eskom, with the implementation of the nine-point plan, strengthening the board and setting out a road map for the future."
Cyril Ramaphosa, responding to a debate by Members of Parliament on his State of the Nation Address, June 2019.
"We are addressing the Eskom issue every day. I’m saying to the whole nation let’s not panic let us join hands, close ranks and work together. That is why we are addressing it on an urgent basis. There is nothing much more urgent than restoring the power."
Cyril Ramaphosa, on 23 March 2019, when SA was hit by ongoing load shedding again.
“Our citizens deserve to be able to conduct their lives, go to school and operate their businesses confident that they will not be plunged into darkness without warning. At the same time, as citizens, we must understand that when we do not pay, we are part of the problem.”
Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter in October 2019.
And way back when…….
“In another 18 months to two years, you will forget the challenges that we had with relation to power and energy and Eskom ever happened.” Cyril Ramaphosa, 2 September 2015 [He had been tasked by Cabinet in 2014 to turnaround SOEs and was reporting on his progress to the NCOP]— ANC Quotes (@QuotesAnc) December 10, 2019
This article was first published in 2019. It was first updated to reflect power cuts that hit South Africa in October 2021, and updated again on 11 July 2022 to reflect President Cyril Ramaphosa's latest promise on the matter.