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In the dark: Ramaphosa only found out about stage 6 after leaving for Egypt

President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to attend a conference on sustainable peace and development in Egypt on Wednesday, however, those plans have changed.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa attends a special NEC meeting in Cape Town on 21 May 2019. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency on Tuesday said that President Cyril Ramaphosa received news that the country was experiencing stage six load shedding only after he departed for Egypt.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said: “Having received it after he departed South Africa, he is expected to receive a full briefing on measures to mitigate the electricity crisis.”

Ramaphosa confirmed on Tuesday afternoon he'll be meeting Eskom’s board and managers on Wednesday.

Eyewitness News revealed on Tuesday that the president is flying home following the public outcry over his trip, which was announced shortly after South Africans were saddled with stage 6 load shedding.

The blackouts have since been downgraded to stage 4, with Eskom insisting the country won't reach a total blackout stage.

Ramaphosa was due to attend a conference on sustainable peace and development in Egypt on Wednesday, however, those plans have changed.

The Presidency has now sent out a statement confirming that Ramaphosa will be meeting with Eskom’s board and management to be briefed on plans to mitigate and resolve the current electricity crisis facing the country.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday, 11 December 2019, meet with the board and management of the national power utility Eskom, where he will be briefed on plans to mitigate and resolve the current electricity crisis affecting most of the country.”

The Presidency said Ramaphosa decided to cut short his trip to Egypt to attend to “urgent domestic priorities”.

Diko said: “The president is en route from Egypt where he met and held official talks. The president took the decision to return home to attend to urgent domestic priorities.”

The president is also expected to visit the operations centre at Megawatt Park on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Deputy President David Mabuza has apologised to South Africans for the inconvenience.

Mabuza was speaking at the SACP’s special national congress in Kempton Park on Tuesday.

“We are mindful of the challenges that are faced by Eskom. We take this opportunity to apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused.”

• How to check your load shedding schedule

SUBSTATION EXPLOSION

There are fears that the impact of load shedding could become more severe, with some substations blowing up due to the rolling blackouts.

Technicians are working to fully restore power to residents of Tshwane after the Kwagga substation exploded in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving large parts of the metro in the dark.

Over the weekend another substation exploded in Bryanston, leaving consumers without power outside of their load shedding slot.

Acting Tshwane Mayor Abel Tau said preliminary reports show that the Kwagga substation blew up as electricity was being restored in the early hours Tuesday morning following load shedding. Tau said technicians restored power but several areas were still in the dark.

In Johannesburg, City Power said teams would repair equipment after a substation in Bryanston was damaged over the weekend.

Table Mountain Cableway: Visitors get stuck amid power cuts

TOURISM

Authorities are doing all they can to lessen the impact on the tourism sector and other major events.

In the Western Cape, Premier Alan Winde said Eskom assured it would do everything possible to ensure that load shedding does not affect the Cape Town Sevens Rugby Tournament this weekend.

“The Sevens was part of the discussion. We’re trying to manage this and discuss it ahead of time.”

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