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By Lunga Simelane


Now 16 stages of load shedding but you don’t have to worry – Ramokgopa

This while Deputy President Paul Mashatile vowed that load shedding would come to an end before the year is over.

Following 14 days without rolling blackouts, Deputy President Paul Mashatile has given the assurance that South Africa would see load shedding over before the end of the year.

Mashatile, who delivered a public lecture at the University of Johannesburg to mark 30 years of democracy, said there were plans in place to ensure load shedding ended this year.

ALSO READ: ‘I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true’ – Mashatile vows to end load shedding by end of year

“I know you don’t believe me. They think I am electioneering, but I am not. It is true. That is why I am not saying it will end before the elections. I am saying this year,” he said.

“We have also made further strides in addressing load shedding, enhancing security in the country, as well as improving the logistics system and the ports and rail networks.”

Minister ‘working hard’

Mashatile said Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa had been working hard.

“Some of you might have heard him say he is working himself out of a job because he is going to end load shedding.

“So, I said to him: ‘No, you are not working yourself out of a job because once you have ended load shedding, you must plan for another 10 years,’” he said.

“[He] must invest in new generation, ensure Eskom builds new power stations and implements renewables, including solar, wind and gas.”

During his Energy Action Plan update, Ramokgopa also reiterated load shedding would be eliminated soon and there had been progress in improving generation capacity at Eskom.

The ramp up of planned maintenance was important and contributed to the current low levels of load shedding.

ALSO READ: Here is everything you need to know about the approved stage 16 load-shedding protocols

He said if one looked at the December period of 2023 heading into January 2024, Eskom had taken out 18% of the generation of energy capacity, which was about 9 000 megawatts at a time, for planned maintenance, and last month, SA had two periods of stage one load shedding.

Recently, the country only had one stage of load shedding. “We’re beginning to see that these machines are coming back into service,” he said.

“They’re coming back on load and they are adding to the capacity on the grid and this is helping us to address the demand.”

Ramokgopa said the planned maintenance was not done recklessly but within limits.

While many were concerned about higher levels of load shedding following the approval of stage 16 load shedding protocols, Ramokgopa said the country did not have to worry.

‘Don’t worry about 16 stages’

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) had recently approved guidelines for implementing load shedding up to stage 16.

The revision of the code of practice was developed by experts from Eskom, Nersa, the Energy Intensive User Group and South Africa’s metros, which had consolidated load shedding stages from stages one to 16 into a single system.

Ramokgopa said the aim of the independent body which established these protocols was to ensure from the systems operations point, there was a degree of predictability if the country would have higher levels of load shedding.

Ramokgopa said it did not suggest the country would experience stage 16 and the guidelines had no correlation with where the currently country was.

“There must be proper planning, even for the worst-case scenario. That’s what the exercise is doing, so we welcome it.”