IN QUOTES | Tired of load-shedding? DA discusses problems and possible solutions

27 May 2021 - 09:42 By cebelihle bhengu
The power system is under severe pressure, with a high probability of load-shedding. Stock photo.
The power system is under severe pressure, with a high probability of load-shedding. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/beercrafter

The DA says the government's ability to effectively roll out Covid-19 vaccines and the nation's economy are on thin ice because of load-shedding.

The party on Wednesday discussed ways in which South Africans can “rid themselves” of power utility Eskom and the constant blackouts.

This comes amid warnings and subsequent stage 1 load-shedding due to a “shortage in generating capacity”. Eskom previously issued warnings and urged South Africans to use power wisely to avoid load-shedding.

Among solutions discussed by the DA are addressing debt owed to Eskom and allowing municipalities to purchase power from independent power producers. 

On the panel were MP Cilliers Brink, shadow minister of mineral resources and energy, Kevin Mileham, political head of Johannesburg North West, Bridget Masango, and author of Blackout: The Eskom Crisis, James-Brent Styan.

Here are six telling quotes from the discussion:

Independent power producers — Mileham 

“The minister needs to allow the municipalities that have the technical and financial resources to pursue their own supply of electricity, not to be reliant on Eskom, to talk to IPPs. 

Ageing infrastructure — Styan 

“There are municipalities that haven't been doing their repairs and maintenance for extended periods of time on their grids. Some of these transformers are more than 80 years old. The wear and tear on that grid means you will see these things blow up more frequently.”

Leadership collapse — Masango  

“Meetings are being arranged with city power and communities but nothing happens after those. The systems have collapsed, there is no political will at the local government level [to attend to the power crisis].

Eskom debt — Styan

“Municipalities are failing to pay Eskom. The amount owed to Eskom by municipalities is increasing every year. There is no political will to instruct people to pay their service providers otherwise they will have supply challenges and interruptions.”

Residents and businesses must generate their own power — Mileham

“We need to incentivise residents, businesses and municipalities to install their own generation. We need to make it easier for them to do that. We need to make the licensing process much simpler. If you want to generate your own electricity for a business, you go through the same process that Medupi and Kusile go through in terms of licensing. That is unacceptable, make it easier.”