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‘Eskom owes SA an apology’

Earthlife Africa says instead of apologising, Eskom is transfering the blame onto the public.

FILE: Environmental and anti-nuclear organisation, Earthlife Africa, says Eskom owes South Africans an apology for failing to do adequate maintenance and letting consumers carry the burden of continuous load shedding. Picture: Free Images.

JOHANNESBURG - Environmental and anti-nuclear organisation, Earthlife Africa, says Eskom owes South Africans an apology for failing to do adequate maintenance and letting consumers carry the burden of continuous load shedding.

The organisation advocates for renewable energy and a low-carbon economy as opposed to nuclear power.

Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona told Eyewitness News not enough maintenance was done in the past which has resulted in several technical issues and breakdowns.

The utility will now push for maintenance this year but it will mean regular and daily load shedding for the next few months.

Earthlife Africa's Makoma Lekalakala says, "Instead of apologising, Eskom is transferring the blame onto the public."

She says there are political forces that are aligning that are scaring the public into accepting a new nuclear fleet.

Matona gave an update on the state of the country's power system on Thursday, painting a bleak picture.

He's admitted not enough maintenance on power plants has been done in the past, resulting in the crisis which has plunged the country into darkness.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Eskom officials about the ongoing plans to help the utility deal with electricity problems, but he hasn't yet made an announcement on government interventions.

Matona however says he was impressed with what Eskom has done so far.

"When we interacted with it, I referred to it as a glorious company."

At the same time Matona admitted that the utility has not kept up to date with maintaining the power system.

"Eskom has not stayed faithful to that maintenance religion for a very long time."

This means regular load shedding is expected to take place daily for the next few months.

GOVT MUM ON ESKOM PLANS

Government is yet to make an announcement on its action plan to help Eskom financially.

Eskom is expected to run out of funds by mid-February.

Matona said government has been working with Eskom since December to develop a number of turnaround strategies.

Economists, business and industry leaders are concerned about the impact of further power outages and the sustainability of electricity in the future.

Matona has spent most of his week meeting with board members and business stakeholders regarding what can be expected in terms of electricity supply.

He has released a calendar indicating that load shedding will happen regularly during February, March and April.

Matona said it would take almost as long to fix the current state of the power system as it did for it to deteriorate.

But the head of the parastatal said he was committed to doing the right thing to ensure reliable electricity supply.

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