Joint media release: Premier Winde and Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell call for calm amid the likelihood of an escalation of load-shedding.

Premier Alan Winde says: “South Africa once again finds itself having to fumble through the dark amid another bout of load shedding. But this time it’s an unlawful strike which is adding to what is already a devastating energy crisis.”

The Premier laments: “This illegal industrial action at Eskom is not only impacting its operations but harming an entire country too. Millions of Western Cape residents are caught in the middle of this dispute.”

There are warnings from the power utility’s top management that the rolling power cuts could likely be further escalated due to this strike, which continues to drag on and has turned violent.

But the Premier is appealing to Western Cape communities: “While load-shedding may worsen in the coming hours or days, there is no need for panic.”

He assures residents: “Our Disaster Management team is continuously monitoring the situation and is on top of it.”

“I strongly call on the management at Eskom, organised labour and National Government to do everything they can to end the deadlock in pay talks,” he says.

Western Cape MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, is also urging residents not to panic.

“We are in close contact with Eskom and will communicate any changes or new information on the expected duration of this situation,” the MEC says.

He further assures the public: “Our Provincial Disaster Risk Management Centre has been placed on high alert and is communicating with municipalities throughout the province.”

If stage 6 is implemented, according to Eskom’s Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer, over a 24-hour period most areas will find themselves without power for 6 hours on that day, although that may be split into blocks of 2 hours.”

The Western Cape MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger says that energy resilience is a strategic priority for the Western Cape Government, so that job creation is not impacted by load-shedding.

“Our province has a proud track record of courageously tackling the challenges that it faces, and by building resilience so that we emerge even stronger. We did so with the drought and with our COVID-19 response, and we will do the same with energy,” said MEC Wenger.

The MEC continues: “Already Utility-scale Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the Western Cape have produced a total of 8 272 GWh of energy since the inception of the national Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program. We are working hard to create an environment in which IPPs can flourish and we can introduce more independent power production, faster.”

The Premier and the MECs are asking residents to work together to get through this challenge.

Source: Government of South Africa