The country, as we know, has been battling a pandemic, a subsequent lockdown and the devastating effects thereof. The Western Cape, in particular, is also literally in the eye of a storm and to add a cherry on top — Eskom announced a move to Stage 4 load shedding. On the same day, in a presentation, the power utility said it has a shortfall of R350 billion.
‘STAGE 4 LOAD SHEDDING ADDS ANOTHER LAYER OF DIFFICULTY’ – WINDE
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the province’s cabinet deliberated on plans to rebuild the economy and save jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic when it heard that Eskom escalated load shedding to Stage 4.
“The Western Cape economy has been significantly impacted by the hard lockdown which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. Our focus right now must be on recovery but load shedding adds another layer of difficulty to already struggling businesses,” he said.
“The move to Stage 4 load shedding at a time like this is devastating to all of our efforts to save jobs and stave off unemployment pandemic,” he added.
AN ESTIMATED 36% OF ESKOM INSTALLED PLANT CURRENTLY OFFLINE
Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape Anton Bredell said an estimated 36% of total Eskom installed plant is currently offline.
“Stage 4 load shedding comes at the worst possible time with our citizens hunkered down against a vicious storm in the province. The provincial disaster management authorities continue to be on standby to assist any member of the public in case of emergency,” said Bredell.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier says it has been estimated that Stage 4 load shedding will cost the South African economy an estimated R2 billion per day, while the cost to the Western Cape is around R300 million per day.
“Businesses in the Western Cape are already hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Add to this an electricity crisis, and this will certainly be a harsh blow for many businesses already on the precipice of closure, resulting in further job losses in the Western Cape,” said Maynier.
Maynier said national government could, with a stroke of a pen, drastically change the current energy crisis.
“With the stroke of a pen, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe could lift the 1MW cap on self-generation to immediately bring online significant amounts of renewable energy onto the national grid, and, with the stroke of a pen, he could immediately open bid window 5. While national government continues to drag its feet, we will continue to do everything we can to build energy resilience in the Western Cape and support businesses to beat load shedding,” he added.
Help support journalists, the guardians of independent journalism, through our student media initiative that gives a voice to students and their generation! Find out more…