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Eskom keeps the lights on another day, Ramaphosa dismisses talk of privatisation

The state-owned entity suspended load shedding on Saturday after several days of consecutive rolling blackouts.

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

JOHANNESBURG – While Eskom has promised to keep the lights on for Saturday, there are growing calls for changes to be made at the struggling power utility and for the board to be removed.

The state-owned entity suspended load shedding on Saturday after several days of consecutive rolling blackouts.

National Union for Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan should also step down over the failure to fix the cash strapped company.

The union says Jabu Mabuza's resignation as board chair is a cheap tactic of taking the fall for misleading President Cyril Ramaphosa about suspending load shedding.

“We are also calling on the ANC national leadership to take decisive action and deploy a competent minister to public enterprises because, unfortunately Pravin Gordhan has not just moved from one SOE crisis to another – but, with due respect, he honestly appears to be overwhelmed.”

The power utility had assured Ramaphosa last month that there would be no load shedding until Monday, except it implemented power cuts on the first weekend of this month.

At the same time, speaking at the African National Congress (ANC) 108th birthday celebrations, President Ramaphosa has reiterated old commitments that his administration will not privatise Eskom.

He promised hundreds of ANC members who attended the party’s 108th birthday anniversary in Kimberley that his government will keep the machines going at the cash strapped entity.

Despite the ongoing load shedding and Eskom’s continued operations challenges, Ramaphosa has vowed that his government will accelerate the process of transforming the struggling state owned entity into an effective and reliable electricity supplier.

"Eskom will be restored to becoming a company that can provide energy. I want to stress once again, those who think they can privatise Eskom, I want to say to you: we are not going to privatise Eskom."

The party president says Eskom, which provides electricity to 90% of South African households is too big to fail.

"We will not allow Eskom to fail."

He promised that government would continue to support the Eskom management to ensure it stabilises the power grid.

WATCH: Eskom will be restored, not privatised