Ramaphosa cuts short Egypt trip over Eskom crisis

10 December 2019 - 15:25
By Kgothatso Madisa
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his planned two-day trip to Egypt amid calls for him to deal with the ongoing load-shedding crisis.

Ramaphosa, who arrived in Egypt on Tuesday morning, was set to return SA later the same day.

Sources within the presidency have said Ramaphosa would meet Eskom executives on Wednesday to deal with the crisis at the power utility.

This comes amid calls by political party DA and citizens for Ramaphosa to cut short his trip and address the issue.

Eskom has implemented load-shedding for six consecutive days since Thursday last week. The crisis deepened on Monday when the power utility had to, for the first time, implement stage 6 rotational blackouts.

The explanation given by Eskom was that there were technical problems at the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, resulting in a need to shed 6,000MW from the power grid.

The DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen said that the implementation of stage 6 was devastating for an already struggling economy.

“The country is asking what exactly is going on, and we deserve full transparency on this threat to national stability,” Steenhuisen said. “In these extraordinary circumstances, we call for parliament to urgently be reconvened in order for President Ramaphosa to address parliament and the nation on this escalating crisis. The president must come clean on exactly what the structural problems at Eskom are and how his government plans to address them within the coming days.”

Ramaphosa was scheduled to be in Egypt at least until Wednesday.

He was due to meet Egyptian president Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday to deepen “bilateral political and economic relations” and participate in the inaugural session of the “Aswan forum for sustainable development”.