DA: Zuma must answer to power crisis

The ANC has however insisted that there was no crisis affecting Eskom.

FILE: DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Aletta Garner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's energy crisis is holding the economy to ransom and making a mockery of attempts to create jobs, The Democratic Alliance (DA) said in Parliament on Thursday.

But the ANC insists there is no crisis affecting Eskom in a response.

Members of Parliament (MP)'s were debating the country's constrained electricity supply, which has led to scheduled power cuts and a request to big users to cut back their consumption.

In the final session of the National Assembly, a number of motions are being debated.

The DA's Mmusi Maimane told MP's the country is in the grip of a full blown energy crisis.

"The crisis therefore represents a fundamental threat to our economic wellbeing."

The ANC's Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba disagreed.

"I want to say there is no crisis."

Opposition MP's were unsparing with their jeers.

The DA's Natasha Michael says the crisis is grinding the economy to a halt.

The official opposition called on government to address the crisis at Eskom, saying there must be better planning and effective management.

Maimane says President Jacob Zuma needs to take action.

"It's not because we hate the president, it's that he must come and account for this energy crisis right here today and answer questions."

He says little has changed since the problems at Eskom were first identified.

"We must acknowledge that as early as in 1998, government was made aware of the impending crisis on energy policy. Sixteen years later, the situation shows little signs of improvement."

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says the country's power problems are will continue for another two years and South Africans must be patient.

"The problem is that power stations are not perfect. Like cars, they need servicing from time to time."

Eskom on Wednesday asked employees to consider taking voluntary retrenchment packages as it battles financial constraints, fuel shortages and warns that load shedding could last well into the New Year.

But the power giant says operational requirements will be considered to ensure core skills are not lost.

It says it has a crisis on its hands and it's not only about the unstable power system, it's also about major financial losses.

This week, the utility released its financial report showing it made a profit of R9,3 billion in the first six months of the financial year.

But this is down 24 percent, compared to the same period in 2013.