Amid growing calls from some South Africans for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to step down due to the load shedding crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa says his main focus is on restoring the country’s power supply and not on removing Gordhan from office.
“We are working together and I did say this is not the time for recrimination… my concern is Eskom must be returned to proper functionality and it must happen now,” Ramaphosa told SABC News on Thursday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s campaign trail in Ekurhuleni as the party tried to woo voters ahead of Monday’s much anticipated municipal elections.
Ramaphosa said he was concerned about the repeated power cuts over the last few days that have angered many citizens.
He said he did not believe that load shedding was intentional despite his own party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, saying this week they suspected sabotage by some individuals within Eskom.
“We are all concerned and also a bit upset and others are very angry. And this is the time to work together to solve this problem. It’s not the right time now for recrimination.
“It is for me, the time to get people to buckle down and do their work, and I don’t believe that this was intentional,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that the power cuts were particularly worrying because of Monday’s polls and final examinations being written by thousands of matriculants across the country.
When it happens it does become a major challenge to the people of our country and therefore I am concerned.
Eskom downgrades load shedding
Meanwhile, Eskom on Thursday evening announced that load shedding would be reduced to stage 2 on Friday until 5am on Saturday.
The power utility said unit each at the Koeberg, Medupi, Kriel, Duvha, Kusile and Tutuka power stations returned to service, helping to ease the current capacity constraints.
However, its units at Majuba and Arnot power stations tripped while a single unit at Matla was forced to shut down on Thursday.
Gordhan promised the nation this week that there would be no load shedding this weekend and on Monday when the country takes to the polls.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe.