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Load shedding update: Eskom could keep the lights on for another day

Eskom said its teams worked around the clock to bring more generating units back online.

Picture: Pexels

JOHANNESBURG – There’s a low probability of load shedding on Monday with the country’s power system showing some improvement.

Eskom said its teams worked around the clock to bring more generating units back online. The utility has again asked South Africans to use electricity wisely.

On Friday, Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza resigned unexpectedly over the parastatal’s failure to avoid blackouts ahead of Monday.

Eskom implemented severe nationwide power cuts in several bursts last year and again sporadically last week despite low electricity demand as many businesses and factories were closed for the holidays.

Eskom officials had told President Cyril Ramaphosa at a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Johannesburg on 11 December that there would be no power cuts from mid-December until mid-January. But this was not the case

“In the wake of Mr Mabuza’s resignation, government will soon announce a re-configured Eskom board with the appropriate mix of electricity industry, engineering and corporate governance experience,” Ramaphosa’s office said in a statement.

The power cuts implemented by Eskom dented economic output last year and sapped investor confidence in Ramaphosa’s efforts to turn around the economy.

Eskom supplies more than 90% of the country’s power, but repeated faults at its creaking fleet of coal-fired power plants mean it struggles to meet electricity demand.

Mabuza was appointed to the Eskom board of directors shortly after Ramaphosa became the leader of the governing African National Congress party in December 2017.

Mabuza’s resignation comes the same week that Eskom’s new Chief Executive Andre de Ruyter took up his post. De Ruyter will oversee a government plan to split the company into three units after its previous chief executive stepped down.

Additional reporting by Reuters.