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Another weekend in the dark...

South Africans have been urged to prepare for load shedding over the weekend.

South Africans have been urged to prepare for load shedding over the weekend. Picture: Free Images.

JOHANNESBURG - Eskom says the power system is only expected to stabilise in mid-December, when businesses start closing for the festive season.

South Africans meanwhile have been urged to prepare for load shedding later this week or over the weekend, as the grid remains severely constrained.

Eskom's Andrew Etzinger says the system is severely constrained at the moment.

"We're using our gas turbines and our pump storage power stations very extensively to keep the lights on and these simply won't be able to continue at the current rate until the weekend, unfortunately."

If load shedding is implemented on Saturday and Sunday, it will be the third consecutive weekend of rolling blackouts.

When businesses start closing down ahead of Christmas the system is expected to be more stable, although Eskom will continue with its summer maintenance programme.

Eskom has been battling with increased demand due to a shortage of diesel and water reserves for the gas turbines and water pumps as well as several problems at its Majuba Power Station in Mpumalanga.

The weekend blackouts were due to general upkeep measures at the Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric power station in Mozambique.

South Africa imports a portion of its electricity from the scheme.

NO MORE 'SIGH OF RELIEF' FOR SOUTH AFRICANS

Earlier this week, the power giant suggested South Africans could breathe a sigh of relief, with no load shedding expected this December.

It however reiterated the public should brace itself for regular rolling blackouts over the next few years.

Etzinger even said the prognosis for the festive season looks good.

"As the schools close and as businesses close towards Christmas, we see a good amount of electricity which stabilises the grid."

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

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.

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."

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