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Ramaphosa deploys army to Mozambique to help with recovery efforts

The president also asked the SANDF to assist Eskom with recovery operations as the power utility tries to work on its power generation fleet.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses crowds on the campaign trail on 17 March 2019 in Mahikeng, North West. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to Mozambique to assist with recovery efforts after the country was hit by a tropical cyclone.

About 140 people died and hundreds are still missing after cyclone Idia hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

Ramaphosa also asked the SANDF to assist Eskom with recovery operations as the power utility tries to work on its power generation fleet.

“We’ve deployed SANDF units to go into Mozambique to go and help with rescue [operations], but I’ve also directed them to go and work with Eskom in Mozambique where the pylons came down. SANDF units are going to be there looking at how we can restore energy,” he said, speaking on the campaign trail in Mahikeng, North West.

Eskom said it had lost 1,100 megawatts from Mozambique after the country was hit by the cyclone damaging transmission lines that carry power to South Africa.

That resulted in the power utility implementing stage 4 load shedding.

At the same time, Eskom said on Sunday its engineers were working around the clock at its power stations doing the necessary repairs and maintenance to its generation fleet.

Eskom’s acting head of generation Andrew Etzinger said: “Our engineers and plant specialists are on site around the clock to get the plants back into working order. In certain cases, they were quick and in certain cases, it requires us to procure spares, for example. It’s certainly not a quick fix but ultimately the outlook is not good for the next few days.”