The statement by Eskom (South Africa Electricity Public Utility Company) that there was an increased possibility of loadshedding (intermittent power outage) over the next 18 months – with critical maintenance on the cards to replenish ageing plant – still sends shock waves down everyone’s spine to date in South Africa.
Businesses are suffering. Traffic is jamming. House gates are weakening. Morale is low. Emigration is increasing. Panic and fear rise but many try to wear calm facades, knowing the future is now dark in South Africa.
A travel agent in Sandton anonymously told agogoayonews.com that she has received more requests for emigration by middle class South Africans in January this year than in any month since she’s been in business.
According to Daily Maverick: “This week (mid-December 2019) South Africa will mark 12 years since the advent of load shedding. It is a moment marked by Eskom moving to Stage Four…, followed by a weekend of darkness and generator noise piercing the otherwise dead quiet spaces. While Eskom has explained time and time again the mechanical reasons for the problem, in essence, this has always been a political problem of managing and governing resources. It is sometimes forgotten how important the role of corruption has been in prolonging the biggest problem our country faces.
And it should not be forgotten that at all times, the people who made the mistakes, the people who indulged in corruption, and the people who have created the deep crisis that we are in now, come from, and were protected by, South Africa’s very own ruling party, the ANC.
When load shedding first began in 2007, it was a surprise for nearly everyone. But the people in charge of Eskom, energy and government at the time had no excuse for their ignorance. Nine years before, in 1998, an Energy White Paper had predicted that “for an assumed demand growth of 4.2%, Eskom’s present generation capacity surplus will be fully utilised by about 2007”.
Why was the Energy White Paper warning not taken seriously? Corruption and mismanagement by ANC led government.
Unfortunately, it is shocking that South Africa has decided to TOE the dark path of other useless and irresponsible countries like Nigeria. In Nigeria, electricity is the costliest luxury. It is costlier than food.
In some areas in Nigeria, there may not be electricity for one year. But it all started the way it has started 12 years ago in South Africa. The narratives continued to changed and empty promises reigned and still reign in Nigeria.
Ironically, basic infrastructure is one of the reasons many Nigerians rushed down to South Africa. Mzanzi provided an escape from infrastructural decay for them.
But now words on the street confirm that many Nigerians are losing hope in the ability of South Africa to be the leading light on the continent. Many now think of seeking the greener pasture in other countries who are more sensible than Nigeria and South Africa.
“We know this story. This is how we started in Nigeria. I don’t want to call this a black man’s problem because Ghana has been able to solve this problem. I have money before I came to South Africa. I only came because South Africa before there was no light. water and good roads in Nigeria. But I’m losing here also. Maybe I will go to Europe”, Andrew Nnamdi said in Randburg.
A Nigerian business woman in Randburg Central Business District (CBD) anonymously confirmed that she is selling off her business and going to Canada. “I have begun the process to go to Canada. Even education is cheaper there. My business is collapsing because of loadshedding. By now, they should have fixed this problem. I know this story line. We have heard it in Nigeria before”.
Yesterday evening, Eskom announced on its Twitter account that it would lift stage two loadshedding at 21:00 and that it would resume at 09:00 on this morning.
The utility said its decision to kick off loadshedding at 09:00 on Monday morning came after due consideration was given to motorists and commuters in rush hour traffic.
“We will give a further update to the public on Monday afternoon as to the state of the system going forward,” the statement said.
The Eskom statement said it saw unplanned outages and breakdowns of 11,126 MW by 16:00 on Sunday afternoon, with the utility’s team working to reduce the wattage of unplanned outages.
“While dam levels have recovered adequately enough to allow for a reduction of stage one loadshedding, there is still some work being done to improve diesel stocks,” the utility said.