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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

De Ruyter says he will not resign as load shedding moves to stage 3

De Ruyter said the problems at Eskom were due to capacity, in addition to explosions that have occurred in some power stations.

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter says he will not voluntarily resign from the power utility.

Responding to calls for him to resign at the power utility, De Ruyter said changing the jockey on a dead horse will not help the matter. In fact, it is better to allow for the continuation of the current management to deal with the crisis.

“We serve at the discretion and pleasure of the board. If the board sees it appropriate for me to resign, then that is their decision to make. We have had no conversations in this regard so far. I do not intend to resign of my own accord. You can flog a dead horse or even go one step further and change the jockey on the dead horse but that will not solve the problem,” he said during a media briefing on the latest bout of rolling blackouts on Tuesday afternoon.

Stage 3 load shedding

Eskom has announced it will reduce load shedding from stage 4 to stage 3 on Wednesday morning, two days earlier than previously communicated.

The power utility will then implement stage 2 load shedding on Friday.

De Ruyter said the power utility expects units to return to service starting from Wednesday, and expects to end load shedding at the weekend.

“Lethabo unit 1 will return overnight and unit 2 is expected to return to service tomorrow. Units at Kriel are expected to return by tomorrow, while others will return by the weekend and this will have a positive outlook on load shedding,” said De Ruyter.

“We intend to pump the dams to maximum capacity and also replenish diesel reserves. The outlook for load shedding is that it will be reduced to stage 3 from tomorrow morning until Friday at 5am and then stage 2 until Saturday morning and then we will lift load shedding.”

De Ruyter said the problems at Eskom were due to capacity, in addition to explosions that have occurred in some power stations.

“We all know that for the past 24 months the Eskom management has been warning about lack of capacity, saying we need between 4,000 and 5,000 megawatts to be added to the grid. While Eskom now has some funds available to expand our capacity, there is also a problem with the procurement methodology which is not well suited for the running of a large company such as Eskom,” said De Ruyter.

The power utility has also been struggling with the procurement of original equipment to replace the malfunctioning equipment at some power stations.

“The lack of predictable funding because Eskom is in liquidity constraints has resulted in Eskom struggling to get contracts 24 months prior to set the necessary agreements in motion.”

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De Ruyter said the power utility was also recently forced to upgrade load shedding to stage 4 due to most municipalities not implementing load shedding.

“During stage 2 they did not abide, this put us in a position where the 2,000 megawatts could not be recovered and so we escalated load shedding. During stage 4, cooperation has improved,” said De Ruyter.

Only the Buffalo and eThekwini municipalities adhered to the load shedding implementation, he said.

“We apologise for the negative impact it has had on businesses and students writing exams. We urge every electricity user to use electricity sparingly by switching off non essential appliances especially during peak hours. We will take our share of blame in the matter but we’re all in this together.

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Andre de Ruyter Eskom