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Ramaphosa meeting with Eskom to tackle power crisis

The president had faced backlash for leaving country moments after Eskom announced an unprecedented stage six lead shedding earlier this week.

(L-R) Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, and President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) meet at the power utility’s headquarters at Megawatt Park, Johannesburg, on 11 December 2019 ahead of a meeting on the latest spate of power cuts in the country. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – The Presidency on Wednesday said the power crisis in the country was a critical issue and President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised the importance of being in the country to deal with the challenge.

Ramaphosa decided to return home from a state visit to Egypt on Tuesday. This was earlier than planned to “deal with domestic priorities”, including the electricity crisis and the floods in parts of the country.

How to check your load shedding schedule

The president faced backlash for leaving country moments after Eskom announced an unprecedented stage six lead shedding earlier this week.

Ramaphosa on Wednesday was locked in a meeting with Eskom’s management at its headquarters at Megawatt Park to find a solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, Eskom’s chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer said the latest spate of power cuts in the country were undesirable, but not a crisis.

“It’s undesirable, but not a crisis. We are down to stage two load shedding and the outlook at this point in time is extremely positive for the week for load shedding,” Oberholzer said.

While load-shedding was downgraded to stage two on Tuesday, on Monday evening the country was plunged into stage six.

This meant 6,000 megawatts of power had to be shed to prevent a complete collapse of the country’s electricity grid.

Oberholzer admitted that the situation was serious given added problems such as inclement weather.

“We had severe flooding on some of our power stations and struggled with our coal supply,” he said.

Added to this, Oberholzer said the Medupi power station had hit a major snag after a cable fault.

WATCH: What load shedding stages 5 and 6 mean for you