Calamity of all calamities has visited us, we should restructure Eskom; President Ramaphosa

President Ramaphosa after his ‘thank you note’ in Soweto [Image: @southafricapresidency]
South Africa—Eskom is a South African electricity public utility. The company is divided into generation, transmission, and distribution divisions, and together Eskom generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa, amounting to 45% used in Africa, and 42% of South Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa on Monday afternoon, plunged into stage 4 load shedding, and president Cyril Ramaphosa said the electricity crisis was a calamity that had hit the country.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s ‘thank you’ rally held at the University of Joburg’s Soweto campus.

Ramaphosa told journalists that Eskom and its issues were one of the main national crises that kept him up at night.

“If there’s anything that keeps me awake at night, it’s Eskom and the electricity issues,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa’s comments on electricity follow rounds of load shedding announced by Eskom.

Earlier, the power utility announced that stage 4 load shedding would be implemented from 1 pm until 5 am on Friday.

“Thereafter stage 2 load shedding will continue as previously communicated until 5 am on Saturday,” its statement read.

Ramaphosa meanwhile said the electricity crisis was an issue they were seriously looking into.

One of the major issues plaguing the power utility, according to Ramaphosa, was the fact that it was the only power generator in the country. He said Eskom needed to be restructured.

“The direction we now need to move in is to restructure Eskom. We need to restructure it in a way that will enable us to have generation but that generation will be able to purchase generated electricity from others,” Ramaphosa said.

He admitted that some of the breakdowns were due to negligence and that when other power stations came in an emergency, they also broke down to the overload.