African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President David Mabuza has said the Eskom board misled President Cyril Ramaphosa that there would be no load shedding over the festive season.
Mabuza made the comment while addressing journalists during a walkabout in Kimberley, Northern Cape on Thursday.
SABC News journalist Samkele Maseko asked Mabuza whether the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan misled the President.
‘No effective maintenance’
Mabuza replied, “Well, they misled the President, but right from the day we went there with the President, I insisted on the problem of Eskom maintenance of the power stations. It’s very important.
“You can’t say there won’t be any load shedding if there’s no effective maintenance of these power generation plants.”
The Deputy President reiterated that Eskom’s power stations are ageing and there is need to get the new power stations (Medupi and Kusile) to run at full capacity.
He also suggested that there is need to build new power stations to replace the ageing ones.
Stage 2 load shedding at low demand period
President Ramaphosa told the nation in December that Eskom had undertaken not to implement any form of load shedding until 13 January.
However, the country experienced 2020’s first bout of load shedding last week. Eskom blamed a conveyor belt fault at Medupi power station at the time.
The embattled power utility resumed stage 2 load shedding again this week, announcing on Thursday that it would implement it during the day after two days of implementing it overnight.
Demand is usually low in the first two weeks of January and energy experts have raised alarm that Eskom has had to load shed at a low-demand period.
Ramaphosa recently re-established the Eskom “War Room” led by Mabuza. It also includes Gordhan, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
Energy expert Chris Yelland on Thursday questioned why the “War Room” hasn’t met to address the current crisis. Mabuza said he will meet Eskom’s new CEO Andre de Ruyter in the coming week.