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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘SA must settle for load shedding until end of year at least’ – Gordhan

Gordhan said the desired energy availability factor, which is set to end load shedding, is on track to be achieved in March 2024.

Despite ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula previously telling South Africans that load shedding will be over by the end of 2023, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan clarified that citizens should settle for load shedding until the end of the year at least.

South Africans must ‘settle’ for load shedding

With Eskom painting a bleak winter outlook and likely of stage 8 load shedding, Gordhan said new capacity is urgently needed, and the grid needed to be extended.

“We now know that we have to, as a population and as an economy, settle for load shedding of a significant order until the end of the year at least.

“However, nonetheless, determined efforts are being made by government to ensure that the recovery of the generation capacity of Eskom must be complimented by the reintroduction of new capacity to end load shedding,” Gordhan said.

Gordhan said Eskom’s desired energy availability factor is on track to be achieved in March 2024.

ALSO READ: ‘Stage 8 load shedding likely in winter’ – Eskom

Mixed messages

There have been mixed messages from the ANC on the country’s energy crisis.

Last week, African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula was adamant that government would end the rolling blackouts by the end of this year.

“I know from where I’m sitting [and] from the work that is being done by government and ministers and so on [that] before the end of the year, load shedding should be something of the past…

“I can assure you that load shedding will be reversed and it will be dealt with decisively,” Mbalula said.

However, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has earlier said the power outages will not end this year. Ramokgopa said load shedding would still be around next year, but government was working to ensure that “its intensity is not as severe”.

Mbalula’s remarks are also in stark contrast to the warning issued by Eskom‘s acting CEO Calib Cassim.

Cassim warned South Africans to prepare for a harsh and cold winter as the demand for power intensifies.

Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, he said the likelihood of stage 8 load shedding during peak hours this winter was “extremely high”.

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

ALSO READ: Numsa rejects Eskom’s revised wage offer

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