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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

‘We all know his inherent limitations’- Ramokgopa shades Steenhuisen’s load shedding ‘knowledge’ in war of words

Ramokgopa threw shade at DA leader John Steenhuisen's education.

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has taken aim at John Steenhuisen after the DA leader’s suggestion Eskom was keeping the lights on until elections.

In a recent Sunday Times article, Steenhuisen said the power utility was burning more diesel than it had budgeted for on its open-cycle gas turbines to give the illusion of a more stable grid and to keep load shedding at bay.

“In an election year, this creates the perception Eskom may be manipulating the power supply ecosystem to keep the lights on at all costs until May 29.”

ALSO READ: ‘Notoriously over-optimistic’ – energy expert says more work needs to be done to end load shedding

Speaking at an electricity briefing on Monday morning, Ramokgopa dismissed such suggestions and seemingly took a dig at Steenhuisen’s high school education.

“I sympathise with some of the political actors, some of the statements they make, some of their writings. I appreciate that they have no knowledge, or limited knowledge, about the performance of this complex engineering system.

“The leader of the opposition has written a paper and his knowledge about complex engineering is legendary. We all know his inherent limitations,” said Ramokgopa.

Watch Ramokgopa’s remarks:

He claimed the latest power supply reprieve has “removed” it from his opponent’s political arsenal.

“They are exposed. Therefore, they resort to unsubstantiated theories, like we have seen someone pen something that can only be described as preposterous and not anchored in facts.”

‘I’d never tell them to keep the lights on at all costs’

Ramokgopa said he would never put pressure on Eskom to keep the lights on for political reasons.

“Now we are very close to an election, all we are doing is executing the plan we had set and suddenly Eskom is accused of many things.

“I can assure the SA public that the Eskom board will not do things that are politically short-sighted and will damage the South African grid. They would not do that.

“Myself, as minister, I would never pick up the phone and tell them to keep the lights on at all costs.”

‘After elections we will have stage 6’

Eskom and the minister have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with EFF leader Julius Malema suggesting load shedding will return after next month’s elections.

“They don’t say ‘we are done with load shedding’, only ‘load shedding remains suspended’. They are doing what they did during the World Cup. They are holding it there to the detriment of the grid.

ALSO READ: Eskom’s load shedding escalation: Understanding the new 16-stage system

“I can tell you that on 29 May, after voting has ended we will go to Stage 6,” he said last week.

Can’t promise no load shedding

We may have had 26 days of no load shedding so far, but Ramokgopa warned the nation there will “likely be setbacks” ahead with unplanned issues or breakdowns.

“I am not about to say load shedding is not behind. I cannot say that … We will keep focused on the bouncing ball, which is the resolution of load shedding.”