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Presidency denies Ramaphosa misled over load shedding as stage 1 cuts kick in

Deputy President David Mabuza told reporters in Kimberley that Eskom deceived government, as the maintenance backlogs at the power utility simply meant that load shedding was here to stay.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing a media briefing on 11 December 2019 on the latest spate of power cuts in the country. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

KIMBERLEY - Eskom has announced stage one load shedding will kick in from 6am on Friday and is likely to last until at least 11pm.

It said that stage two power cuts would end at 6am and the utility would then need to shed 1,000MW from the grid.

But the struggling parastatal said that this was the result of an improved prognosis for the day as some generating units returned to service.

Now, the Presidency has denied that President Cyril Ramaphosa was misled by the Eskom leadership when he told the nation that load shedding would be suspended until 13 January.

Deputy President David Mabuza told reporters in Kimberley that Eskom deceived government, as the maintenance backlogs at the power utility simply meant that load shedding was here to stay.

In December, Ramaphosa cut short his official trip to Egypt after Eskom implemented stage six rolling power cuts due to several unforeseen factors, including wet conditions and alleged sabotage.

Just hours after Mabuza made the statement suggesting that he, the president and senior Cabinet members who formed the energy war-room were misled by Eskom, the Presidency went into overdrive.

The aim was to dispel the idea that the president was misled as Mabuza claimed, with Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko telling several media houses that while Ramaphosa was referring to the suspension of planned load shedding during the December briefing, what was being experienced now were unplanned power cuts.

The only problem was that the president’s exact words then were that "we should not be in a position to have any form of load shedding".

"And they have given us the assurance that from 17 December right through to 13 January, we should be in a position to have any form of load shedding, and going right through to March they will be seeking to do everything they can to restore the stability of the network."

Meanwhile, in a statement issued a short while go, Eskom reminded customers that load shedding was an essential and controlled measure to ensure that the integrity of the grid was not compromised.

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