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Eskom warns load shedding a last resort as it seeks to stabilise power grid

Eskom's Dikatso Mothae says rolling blackouts will only be implemented as a last resort when the power system is under severe strain.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Load shedding could make an unwelcome return as Eskom warns it may take up to 10 days for the power grid to be stabilised following a one-day strike last week which affected its operations.

Employees affiliated to two unions downed tools over a pay dispute. Attacks on Eskom infrastructure have marred the industrial action.

The power utility has workers seething over its decision not to hike salaries this year, due to its dire financial situation.

Eskom's Dikatso Mothae says rolling blackouts will only be implemented as a last resort when the power system is under severe strain.

“Work is expected to resume and things are expected to normalise. We don’t foresee that the recovery will take anything longer than 10 days.”

South Africans have been experiencing controlled outages since Thursday, with the utility saying this was due to the sabotage of electricity infrastructure to by striking employees. At least 18 people have been arrested in connection with acts of violence and intimidation at the utility's power stations.

On Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan convened a meeting with Eskom’s board and management, as well as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Solidarity.

All parties agreed to negotiate a new wage deal and restore production to prevent further blackouts.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)