DA: Eskom’s power cuts could be deadly to oxygen-dependent patients

The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims it's received numerous reports of medical facilities and home-based patients who do not have backup electricity to keep their oxygen machines running when the lights go off.

FILE: Eskom’s already vulnerable system remains under constrain as rolling blackouts continue the plague the nation. Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - Eskom’s unreliable power supply is being cited as a deadly threat to residents dependent on oxygen.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims it's received numerous reports of medical facilities and home-based patients who do not have backup electricity to keep their oxygen machines running when the lights go off.

Eskom’s already vulnerable system remains under constrain as rolling blackouts continue the plague the nation.

The DA on Monday said considering the pending third wave of COVID-19 infections, more and more citizens would rely on life-saving oxygen machines.

The party's Haseena Ismail is a member of the portfolio committee on health in Parliament.

She said: “Homecare patients who use oxygen supply have been severely affected by the rolling blackouts, and patients with emphysema are at most risk as they have to be on oxygen for at least 12 to 15 hours a day.”

This fear is realised even more when stage two power cuts continue for hours each day and many citizens are unable to afford rechargeable machines of this sort.

“Eskom is playing with people’s lives with these rolling blackouts. The power utility should have the decency to provide a proper and reliable schedule to the public. It is not normal that South Africans’ natural right to breathe is being undermined by Eskom.”

Energy experts have warned that the power utility's woes mean rolling blackouts are here to stay, not only throughout winter but summer too, for the next few years.

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