Cape Town — Newly appointed Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa displayed confidence in the government’s ability to solve load shedding but said it would be “irresponsible” to give an exact date regarding when it would end.
In an interview with SABC News, Ramokgopa said that predicting when load shedding would come to a complete end would be “shooting from the hip”.
“Load shedding, and I want to emphasise [this] on national TV we are going to resolve it… [but] it is highly irresponsible to just shoot from the hip and say this date, that date,” Ramokgopa said.
“We are going to be ambitious, [but] we are going to be realistic. Some of the things I will be saying to the general public will be unpalatable. I am sure everyone listening to you wants me to say ‘on X date load shedding will be done’. I am saying give me an opportunity … we will come back to you,” he added.
Ramokgopa also vowed to stay out of politics.
“My approach is I see myself as a portfolio manager who has executive authority. It is an important point I am making because my attention is on the detail, so I am out of politics of electricity and energy.
“I am at the plant level of how do you raise the energy availability factor so you go to issues of instrumentation turbines. Where can you procure them? How can you procure them? It is price competitive. Are we going to the original equipment manufacturer and do we have the right skills to be able to install this? We are at that level and not at the level of load-shedding stages 6 and 7,” he said.
With the country facing hours of load shedding on a daily basis, the government has tried to assist Eskom with the gazetted state of disaster and a debt-relief programme in aid of ending the crisis.
Eskom’s acting CEO Calib Cassim called on South Africans to not accept stage six load shedding.
“We must not accept stage six. We need these stages to come down,” he said.
The utility is reportedly preparing load shedding schedules beyond stage 8 as part of its contingency plan.
According to Energy analyst Ruse Moleshe, if stage eight hits, the country would be looking at more than 12 hours (rotated) of load shedding and the situation would be severe, reported eNCA.
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Compiled by Junaid Benjamin