State of Disaster would help us to ‘move with speed’, says ANC as SA hit by Stage 6 blackouts

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    Nat Quinn

    Eskom announced the return of stages 5 and 6 rolling blackouts on Tuesday, as the ANC briefed the media on the outcomes of its lekgotla and the possible declaration of a National State of Disaster to deal with the energy crisis.

    As ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefed the media on the outcomes of the lekgotla on Tuesday, the country was plunged into Stage 5 and 6 power cuts after several units broke down.

    “In the last 24 hours, six generating units have suffered breakdowns, of which a unit each at Duvha and Hendrina have not yet returned to service. In addition, a generating unit each at Matla and Arnot had been returned to service,” Eskom said.

    Stage 5 rolling blackouts were implemented from noon on Tuesday, and will continue until 9pm. Stage 6 will then kick in until 5am on Wednesday, after which Stage 5 will continue until further notice.

    The power utility said 4,654MW is out due to planned maintenance, while breakdowns currently amount to 18,123MW of generating capacity.

    The power crisis was high on the ANC National Executive Committee’s (NEC) agenda at its lekgotla at Esselen Park in Ekurhuleni over the weekend, according to Mbalula, where it heeded growing calls for the crisis to be declared a National State of Disaster.

    Read in Daily Maverick: “Government is considering declaring SA’s rolling blackouts a National State of Disaster, says Ramaphosa

    “In solving the energy crisis, the NEC lekgotla encouraged [President Cyril Ramaphosa] to declare a National State of Disaster, which will also require that the ANC reconnects with our communities and society, as the ANC does not have the monopoly of ideas,” said Mbalula.

    ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefs the media at Luthuli House on 31 January 2023. (Photo: ANC DIP)

    A National State of Disaster would help the government to “move with speed”, he added.

    The lekgotla had also called for the acceleration of the Energy Action Plan and the Just Energy Transition, as proposed by the National Energy Crisis Committee, “such that there is no load shedding by the end of the year”.

    “In meeting this objective, the NEC agreed that all measures should be taken to protect, rebuild and save Eskom.” DM

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