Cyril Ramaphosa on load-shedding: four things he has said so far

11 June 2021 - 11:00 By cebelihle bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled government's plan to end load-shedding. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled government's plan to end load-shedding. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave South Africans hope on Thursday when he announced the lifting of the power generation licence to reduce load-shedding. This comes as citizens fume over the ongoing cuts by power utility Eskom. 

On Wednesday, Eskom doubled the frequency of stage 2 load-shedding and implemented stage 4. This meant customers were scheduled for load-shedding 12 times over a four-day period for two hours at a time, or 12 times over an eight-day period for four hours at a time.

Here’s a wrap of what the president has said about load-shedding so far:

Companies will be able to build their own generation capacity

As reported by Thabo Mokone for Sunday Times Daily, Ramaphosa said the amendment of schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act will allow the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to increase the private electricity generation threshold from 1MW to 100MW.

The president said this will help boost the economy and reduce the impact of load-shedding. Companies will be allowed to sell the excess power to the national grid.

Ramaphosa said some viewed this amendment as taking “bread away from Eskom”,  but this is not the case.

“The amendment will be published by the department of mineral resources and energy within the next 60 days, or sooner. We are faced with the challenge of ensuring a swift and lasting economic recovery following many years of economic decline.”

The president said this was a collaborative project with the department of energy and mineral resources and minister Gwede Mantashe.

Strengthening Eskom 

Ramaphosa said on Thursday the division of Eskom into three entities of generation, distribution and transmission will make it easier to strengthen the entity. He reiterated that “Eskom is too big to fail”.

“Once Eskom is divided into three entities, we will be able to provide a much sleeker and focused Eskom which has great human capital that will be able to increase the efficiency Eskom should have in generating energy in our country.”

Load-shedding will be with us for five years Sona 2021

As reported by Aphiwe Deklerk for TimesLIVE, Ramaphosa painted a grim picture of the state of Eskom during his state of the nation address (Sona) in February. He said the power utility was projecting an energy shortfall of up to 6,000 megawatts in the next five years, which meant load-shedding is far from over. 

The president said the government would look into other means of energy generation like solar and wind energy.

“As part of the measures to address this shortfall, we will in the coming weeks issue a request for proposals for 2,600MW from wind and solar energy. Recent analysis suggests easing the licensing requirements for new embedded generation projects could unlock up to 5,000MW of additional capacity and help to ease the impact of load-shedding,” he said. 

Progress in reducing load-shedding 

Last Wednesday, Ramaphosa responded to MPs during the presidential budget vote debate, claiming the separation of Eskom into three entities is underway. 

“Municipalities are allowed to purchase their own power and discussions are being held to raise the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects. The separation of Eskom into separate entities is on track to meet its deadline of December 2021.”