We're sorry, says David Mabuza as load-shedding hits SA

17 October 2019 - 15:51 By Andisiwe Makinana

Deputy President David Mabuza has apologised to South African businesses and students who have been hit by rolling blackouts.

The load-shedding started on Wednesday and continued throughout Thursday.

"When it comes to the current load-shedding, I think we must, on behalf of government, apologise to all businesses, students who could not write exams, for the inconvenience caused," he said during a question and answer session in the National Assembly on Thursday.

"We are looking at the problems that have affected Eskom and we want to assure South Africans that this problem will be attended to, and we will come back to normality," he added.

Opposition benches responded with shouts of "when?"

Mabuza said that the power-generating capacity of the country previously stood at 47 megawatts, but this had been reduced to around 35 megawatts.

He blamed this on an ageing fleet, saying a number of units were out of operation because power stations were old.

"For instance, in the Hendrina power station, out of six units that should be functioning, only two are working and the rest have reached their lifespan," he said.

Mabuza said he welcomed the introduction of the integrated resource plan (IRP) by the minister of mineral resources and energy.

"We take it that it is the right step in the right direction that will inform the energy mix for the future of this country.

"Of course in the current situation, we must gradually open up space for independent power producers to augment the current shortages and I am sure the country would be stable," he added.

The cabinet announced on Thursday morning that it had approved the promulgation of the IRP2019, which provides a blueprint for the envisaged energy mix for the country until 2030.

The plan proposes nine interventions to ensure the country responds to the energy needs for the next decade. The interventions draw from the current baseline of the demand and supply of the country’s energy and the country’s international obligations to maintain emission standards.

"The plan remains within the policy framework of pursuing a diversified energy mix that reduces reliance on a single, or few, primary energy sources. It will be revised in line with the changing energy sector environment," read the cabinet statement.