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Load shedding can’t be our new norm especially during unforgiving winter months

  • Jun 4, 2021
The Star

In its assessment of the adverse effects brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, public policy organisation Brooks cited the most pressing challenge that continues to bedevil countries across the world, including South Africa, and that is reliable electricity.

The organisation emphatically stated that communities can’t fight pandemics without electric power, arguing that reliable power “is critical for effective responses to Covid-19 and other diseases”.

Furthermore, an analysis by the World Bank’s Economic Review journal maintains that some developing countries have found themselves unable to provide their industrial sectors with reliable electric power. This often spells bad news for economic growth.

These scenarios form part of an already gloomy situation that South Africans face in the form of load shedding. For instance, this week Eskom announced that it would implement stage two load shedding due to breakdowns at its Majuba and Arnot power stations.

One woman posted on social media that she had been admitted to a local hospital and experienced the worst nightmare. According to her, power was meant to be restored at 12.30am, but by 2.49am they still had no power, and it was too cold, to the point where she wanted to be discharged immediately.

Some entities such as Joburg Water have also indicated that load shedding is likely to affect water supply.

We have seen leaders pointing fingers and refusing to take accountability for bungling operations during their tenure at Eskom. Load shedding can’t, and should never, be our new norm. We need lasting solutions to combat these power outages, particularly during the unforgiving winter months.

Part of this includes collectively following up on commitments made by the government such as the undertaking previously made by President Cyril Ramaphosa that his administration would facilitate the generation of power by private firms to relieve pressure on the national grid in a bid to tackle electricity challenges.

We need to establish if this forms part of lasting solutions, or a short-term plan that will see us continuously falling back to the era of candlelit houses and cooking in our backyards.

The Star

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