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‘Commission of inquiry can resolve SA's power crisis’

Big businesses say a judicial commission will get to the bottom of problems plaguing Eskom.

Big businesses say a judicial commission will get to the bottom of problems facing Eskom. Picture:  EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Big businesses believe a judicial commission of inquiry will get to the bottom of the country's power crisis.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants the inquiry to help find solutions to ongoing problems plaguing Eskom.

South Africa has been hit by a number of rolling blackouts in recent weeks.

Issues such as insufficient diesel supply and a collapsed silo at the Majuba Power Station have contributed to the heavy regulation of energy use.

The chamber's Janine Myburgh says, "It does affect deduction and it does affect the economy negatively. You often have staff standing around there because you don't know when you electricity is going on and off, so you have to pay your staff. Your income is less, but your output remains the same."

Eskom a week ago warned that load shedding could continue well into March next year.

'VOLUNTARY RETRENCHMENTS'

Last week, Eskom said voluntary retrenchment packages will be considered in February next year, on a case by case basis.

The utility has offered its staff packages as its financial situation worsens.

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.

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