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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Cold and dark weekend − Joburg EMS on high alert for emergencies

The SA Weather Service issued severe weather warnings across South Africa, while Eskom has warned that breakdowns have put pressure on the power generating system.

As Gauteng braces the cold weather, Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) has assured residents that officials will remain on high alert to deal with any emergencies.

The South African Weather Service (Saws) issued severe weather warnings across South Africa including Johannesburg from Friday morning throughout the weekend.

Yellow level 2 warnings have also been issued across multiple areas including KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape for disruptive snow, damaging winds and scattered thundershowers.

High alert

Joburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said officials have took note of the severe weather conditions for Gauteng and will be on standby.

Residents are urged to exercise caution when using heating devices and look after them so that they can be able to prevent fire incidents.

“From our side as the city of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, we remain on high alert monitoring all seven regions of the city, especially our most vulnerable communities, our informal settlements, to make sure that we are able to respond to all incidents that might occur throughout the city,” said Mulaudzi.

ALSO READ: Keep your jacket on! Further ‘wintry and strong cold’ conditions ahead

Meanwhile, the cold weather is likely to put strain on the electricity grid as residents use electrical heating appliances to keep warm.

Load shedding

Earlier this week, Eskom warned that the breakdowns of eight generating units have put severe strain on the power generation system and forced it to increase load shedding to higher stages.

The parastatal implemented stage 4 load shedding from 4pm on Wednesday until 5am on Thursday.

Thereafter, various stages of the power cuts will be implemented until Saturday evening.

Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena said demand for electricity is expected to increase towards the weekend.

“Therefore, we appeal to the members of the public to assist in reducing demand by switching off non-essential appliances.”

It’s unclear whether the rolling blackouts would spike to stage 6 like last week.

ALSO READ: Several breakdowns force Eskom to increase load shedding – Here’s your schedule