The room for denial is thin – we’re in Stage 6 loadshedding and the ruling is until midnight for many South Africans this Thursday.
In a recent statement, Eskom announced that Stage 6 will not only characterise today, but also tomorrow – from 5am to midnight.
While the City of Cape Town has come to the party and offered some relief to locals thanks to the Steenbras hydroelectric scheme, many other South Africans have been left in the dark.
Help has been called out for to the likes of Elon Musk and Eskom has received a nation’s eye-rolls. However, the power utility company has placed the blame on its striking workers.
“Due to the continued unlawful strike Stage 6 loadshedding will be implemented,” Eskom said.
“A minimum of Stage 4 will be required continuously over the weekend,” Eskom further added.
“The high levels of staff absenteeism and intimidation of working employees in some of the power stations is still rife. This has made it difficult to conduct routine maintenance and other operational requirements, which will further impact the reliability of generation units,” it added.
Eskom deemed the strike unlawful as well as unprotected. As a result, it says that some generators have been unable to return to service.
“There remains a risk that the stage of loadshedding may have to change at any time, depending on the state of the plant,” Eskom warned.
3 161MW on planned maintenance is currently available, but a striking 17 467MW is unavailable.
As for those striking, Eskom’s update comes as a contradiction to Minister Pravin Gordhan’s assurance that an agreement had been reached with unions, bringing the strikes to ‘an end’ yesterday, as per EWN.
Gordhan noted that “extensive negotiations had been underway been the unions and Eskom’s management authorities, and expressed that an agreement was reached pertaining to the wage settlements.
The striking progressions occurred due to wage disputes. NUM and Numsa were both involved. However, they also agreed that the meeting Gordhan referred to was “considerable progress.”
The groups added that a new offer would be tabled at the Central Bargaining Forum on 1 July.
Until then, we’ll be keeping our candles close.