President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is doing all it can to end load shedding but he would not give a precise date.
Jeffrey Abrahams/Gallo Images
- President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is doing all it can to end load shedding, but he would not give a precise date.
- Eskom announced Stage 4 load shedding on Friday after Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address.
- Ramaphosa also explained his decision to extend SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter’s tenure.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will not commit to saying when load shedding will end because he fears being accused of “lying and making empty and false promises” if rolling blackouts are implemented again.
He made the remarks to the media at a Presidential Golf Challenge at the Atlantic Beach Golf Club at Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, on Thursday.
It would be wonderful and ideal to give a date, but processes like these, that are engineering-based and based on machines working well, you cannot put a date to.
His comments come after power utility Eskom ramped up load shedding to Stage 4 on Friday – the day after he delivered his State of the Nation Address. Ramaphosa said he was aware that load shedding angered the nation.
“The ultimate aim is to finally get rid of load shedding, and the good thing is that we have pulled out all the stops, and efforts are being made to make sure that we do address this problem.
“The issue of ending load shedding is a moot one. Everybody wants to know. Everybody is talking about it, and they want to know when is it ending. All they want is the date: ‘Give us the date.’ And you give them a date, and then there is load shedding, and then they will say: ‘You were lying and making empty and false promises.'”
“So, we are not going to do that because this is a process just like the renewal process that the ANC has embarked upon. It is a process that must get under way.”
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Ramaphosa said Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was engaging with Eskom.
“We are doing all that we can to ensure that we address load shedding. It is a constant problem for South Africans, and we know that. Everybody feels it, and it’s not comfortable at all; in fact, it does sometimes evoke a lot of anger,” he said.
Ramaphosa believes “a better time is coming”.
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On Thursday, Ramaphosa promised South Africans that load shedding would soon be a thing of the past and said: “We are confident that the worst is behind us, and the end of load shedding is finally within reach. But we are not stopping there. To ensure that we never face a similar crisis ever again, we are reforming our energy system to make it more competitive, sustainable and reliable into the future.”
On the sidelines of the address, Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Obed Bapela told journalists that South Africa “will definitely see an end [to load shedding] around 2025”.
“For now, we will keep it lower to (Stage) 1 and two; three will only arise here and there.”
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Ramokgopa told Newzroom Afrika: “The assurance I give you is that you are going to see the intensity (load shedding) coming down gradually. So, we are on the eve of resolving it.”
He said he never said load shedding would end in December 2023. Ramokgopa was referring to utterances made by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula last year.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa also addressed his decision to extend SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter’s contract to ensure “an orderly transition” to new leadership.
There is no crisis, and nobody should have any form of angst. It is a process that is being handled very properly, and I am happy to have a commissioner of revenue like him, who is very cooperative, committed, and diligent in his work and has revived SARS from the grips of state capture.
Kieswetter’s term was supposed to end in April. During his address, Ramaphosa said SARS is one of the institutions that was being revamped.
“It is back to its old efficient self, having been taken to the depths of state capture for a while. So, we have reclaimed it, and I am rather glad that it is one of those institutions that is serving the people of South Africa well.”