The completion of Medupi power station does not mean the end of load shedding, which South Africans are accustomed to.
On Monday, power utility Eskom announced that Unit 1, the last of six generation units at Medupi, has attained commercial operation status.
However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has raised concerns that the utility was not being honest enough about the work that still needs to be done and that there is still a long way to go before the end of load shedding.
“The reality is that Eskom needs to do extensive repairs at Medupi which will take at least 24 months to complete and that all the necessary infrastructure to comply with environmental legislation will not be completed before 2030,” said Ghaleb Cachalia MP DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises.
Cachalia said it was vital that Eskom doesn’t raise South Africans’ hope only to dash them again when the next blackout inevitably rolls out.
He said that the utility must be honest about its challenges and the plans to get South Africa back to full power.
“With Medupi not delivering as much energy as its design should allow for, the power station’s ability to compensate for older stations being decommissioned and creating enough buffer to weather load-shedding, is severely impacted.”
He said that Eskom was not honest in its statement on Monday.
“This statement does not address the issue that although Unit 1 of the Medupi station is finally online, many other factors such as attention to outstanding defects, scrubber installation for clean emissions and the ever-present matter of costs will continue to impact capacity and future blackouts that South Africans have had to get used to over the more than a decade of decline at the power utility,” said Cachalia.
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, to request the appearance of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, and Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter, to explain before parliament the full context of Eskom’s statement.