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POWER CRISIS

State of Disaster would help us to ‘move with speed’, says ANC as SA hit by Stage 6 blackouts

State of Disaster would help us to ‘move with speed’, says ANC as SA hit by Stage 6 blackouts
The power crisis was high on the ANC National Executive Committee’s (NEC) agenda at its lekgotla at Esselen Park in Ekurhuleni over the weekend. (Photo: iStock)

Eskom announced the return of stages 5 and 6 rolling blackouts on Tuesday, as the ANC briefed the media on the outcomes of its lekgotla and the possible declaration of a National State of Disaster to deal with the energy crisis.

As ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefed the media on the outcomes of the lekgotla on Tuesday, the country was plunged into Stage 5 and 6 power cuts after several units broke down.

“In the last 24 hours, six generating units have suffered breakdowns, of which a unit each at Duvha and Hendrina have not yet returned to service. In addition, a generating unit each at Matla and Arnot had been returned to service,” Eskom said. 

Stage 5 rolling blackouts were implemented from noon on Tuesday, and will continue until 9pm. Stage 6 will then kick in until 5am on Wednesday, after which Stage 5 will continue until further notice. 

The power utility said 4,654MW is out due to planned maintenance, while breakdowns currently amount to 18,123MW of generating capacity. 

The power crisis was high on the ANC National Executive Committee’s (NEC) agenda at its lekgotla at Esselen Park in Ekurhuleni over the weekend, according to Mbalula, where it heeded growing calls for the crisis to be declared a National State of Disaster

Read in Daily Maverick: “State of Disaster must be clearly defined and subject to transparent parliamentary oversight, say political parties”

“In solving the energy crisis, the NEC lekgotla encouraged [President Cyril Ramaphosa] to declare a National State of Disaster, which will also require that the ANC reconnects with our communities and society, as the ANC does not have the monopoly of ideas,” said Mbalula. 

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula briefs the media at Luthuli House on 31 January 2023. (Photo: ANC DIP)

A National State of Disaster would help the government to “move with speed”, he added. 

The lekgotla had also called for the acceleration of the Energy Action Plan and the Just Energy Transition, as proposed by the National Energy Crisis Committee, “such that there is no load shedding by the end of the year”.

“In meeting this objective, the NEC agreed that all measures should be taken to protect, rebuild and save Eskom.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Here comes Karpowerships and Russian nuclear plants, pushed through without EIA and approvals under the SOD. Mantashe wins.

  • R S says:

    State of Disaster was also used to fleece us.

    Maybe they need to set up something like the Solidarity Fund to ensure their people don’t rob us blind.

  • Helmut Bartens says:

    Government / ANC cannot be trusted with State of Disaster. Will enable more stealing and corruption.
    What oversight exists. Why does the energy action plan need of state of disaster. The government in itself is a disaster of state.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    There is nothing that in the PFMA and the Treasury regulations that requires the ANC regime to declare a state of national disaster. This is an admission of failure by the President, Cyril Ramaphosa. A Cabinet has to act as a collective even in terms of the Constitution. The Committee ostensibly set up in August if there is an iota of truth in that, has been by this decision a complete failure. Not even a national state of disaster can make them succeed. The issue of resources is not an issue as the budget will be delivered in two weeks time and the resources required for Eskom maintenance plan can be put into that budget.
    The outcome of lazy thinking and incompetence by the ANC is to put up a process with an eye to elections that would make the ANC to be seen to be doing something when it is going to fail as long as Pravin Gordhan runs public enterprises. We must remember that it was the same Gordhan who placed the SAA under business rescue, and at that time when it was announced, Cyril was on his way to the AU Summit and he said he knows nothing about the SAA business rescue and he was going to reverse that. In line with his imaginary relationship with the truth, he never came back and SAA was buried in business rescue by Gordhan. SCOPA has instructed the legal team in parliament to investigate him for refusing to disclose the details of the Takatso deal. We have as a result a serious problem with air travel. This decision is about stealing public money using a crisis.

    • Hermann Funk says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Alley Cat says:

      I agree. Of all the ANC cadres Pravin was the one I respected most but now he seems to toe the party line, i.e. do NOTHING! What has happened to him?
      And Dudu Myeni of the Gucci bag fame has not faced any consequences for her role and active participation in the collapse of SAA apart from being declared a delinquent director as a result of a private prosecution? Where is the NPA? Betohi??

  • John Duncan says:

    To get the ANC to “move with speed” is definitely not going to be achieved by declaring a State of Disaster but rather a swift kick up the keister from the South African citizenry.

  • Mario Cremonte says:

    And there we are, all sorted!

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    The ANC is the disaster !

  • steve woodhall says:

    Who are they trying to kid? The last state of disaster saw Cyril hand us over to the tender (sic) mercies of Mrs Dlamini-Zuma and her mafia. She went on a mad power trip and did all she could to enrich her family’s patrons in the illegal cigarette game, and indulge all her ‘control’ urges like banning alcohol. Who’s to say that she won’t get a similar deal? Or he’ll give the levers of power to Uncle Gweezy, who will simply consolidate the power of his friends in the Coal Mafia and hand a contract to Karpowerships. A stage of disaster isn’t needed here. It needs Ramaphosa to grow a pair and reinstate the Scorpions as a latter day version of ‘The Untouchables’. That’s what the USA did when they had a bad Mafia problem, and it worked!

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    NO! Not after the last State of Disaster. I don’t trust the Government without the checks and balances of Parliament, as weakened as it is.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    A State of Disaster, the Family Meeting Version… coming to a TV screen near you soon. Very soooooon my pretties…

  • John Counihan says:

    ” ……. the ANC does not have the monopoly of ideas”. What a ludicrous, pompous statement by Mbalula. That bunch of clowns have NO ideas! What qualifies them to pontificate on a very complex issue requiring real knowledge? One good thing about the Covid State of Disaster is that committees of real experts were harnessed to deal with the challenge.

  • Nic Campbell says:

    A looter continua.

  • Brian Gibson says:

    Declaring a National State of Disaster under the pretext of resolving the energy crisis is a dexterous coup against the Constitution. The ANC gives itself the fig leaf authority to take care of its political and civil society opponents and secure indefinitely its status as the “governing” (LOL!) party. The “anything goes” emergency climate allows the party and its cadres to continue stealing the country blind.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    A State of Disaster is one thing, but the ANC State of Disaster is something totally different.

  • Oblivious Traveler says:

    Problem with politicians: They think ideas will help. This is an engineering problem that can only be solved by engineers without interference from know- it- all politicians and beaurocrats. Their job is to provide a safe environment (without corruption and criminality and the necessary budget and time) for engineers to do their work. But, alas, that is not in the politicians in the ANC’s DNA. So expect more of the same until the golden goose is no more. Stage 24/7 is on its way …

    • Tom Villet says:

      I fully agree with your comment with one addition: Engineers supported by a knowledgeable Board that provides the necessary resources and oversight without meddling or political agendas/affiliations!

    • Johan Fick says:

      Thank you for brining up the reality of this being an engineering problem. I just tried to visualise the enormity of the problem for the engineer by equating it to a flight engineer having to fix his 747 while plunging to earth from 30 000 ft with the ANC at the yoke. No chance!

    • Don Haynes-Smart says:

      Partly true. Engineering is definitely an issue and the ANC couldn’t engineer themselves out of a wet paper bag.
      Most of the power stations are in the grip of syndicates. I suspect that this is a major source of funding to cadres and, eventually, to Luthuli house.
      Those in the know are hinting that the Eskom corruption goes all the way to the ‘top’, but won’t release details until a formal enquiry before a judge. Remember the manager of Tutuka power station does his inspections in a bullet proof vest.
      Mantashe has been delaying and obstructing all attempts to help resolve the problem (remember Cyril had to override him on the limit of power that IPPs could feed to the grid?) as it is rumoured that his wife has a stake in the Karpowership contracts.
      Diesel contracts have been negotiated with middle men that have nothing to do with energy – dentists, beauticians etc that are all, I am sure, feeding a portion of their ill gotten gains back to corrupt politicians

    • Don Haynes-Smart says:

      PS a State of Disaster would be in itself a disaster for SA, as was the last one, so H3ll No!

  • James Francis says:

    How else are they going to support Mantashe’s ships and the loot mafia? Times are hard! Even the fraudsters are suffering!

  • Libby De Villiers says:

    What purpose will it serve this time?
    Will we have to stop smoking, again?
    Does it mean the government also steals from home again?
    Will they clamp down on news papers and information, to keep us quiet, like big crocodile did?
    Will they just finally put all the lights of and hope the problem goes away?
    What ever the plan is, please, can Cyril not make us wait for hours, to be called fellow South Africans and then spend an hour spewing meaningless gibberish spiked with the odd lame joke.

    You go guys! Make your incompetence official.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Declaring a State of Disaster due to the energy crisis will give the ANC the chance to unilaterally decide to go ahead with the Kapowerships without the proper consideration of the impact on the environment or the taxpayer who is going to have to fork out another $140billion over the next 20 years – most of which will end up in the pockets of the politically connected!

  • Berthold Alheit says:

    Of the many disasters that the Covid state of disaster created the worst were that it gave power to people who had no idea of the impact of their decisions and it created unlimited opportunities for corruption and stealing. No reason why it will be any different this time. Presume the cadres think they must create another opportunity while they still can. Disgusting. This is what happens if those who created the problem is also in charge of solving it. We cannot get rid of the ANC quickly enough.

    • Marius McMichael says:

      Hear, hear, by far the primary disaster in SA is the ANC itself, whose exclusive focus remains stealing every last cent while there are still things left to steal.

  • wolivier says:

    They won’t be moving at the speed of light, since, well, the lights aren’t on. On a serious note though, it pains me to have to read the utter garbage spewed by the people who are entrusted with leading this country. So, their latest new plan is declaring a state of emergency while reconnecting with their communities and society for more ideas (read as they themselves have zero, none, nada, zilch), and accelerating the Energy Action Plan, Plan B and Plan C and …. Then by the end of the year, no more load shedding. How on earth do you allow yourself to even make this comment, when every expert in the field comment this will take years and years to fix. The truth of the matter is that building any successful business/enterprise/country/etc. requires hard work, it is guaranteed to not be easy and you need a fully committed team willing to work and then work even harder. Sadly, the current ANC feels like the antithesis of every single requirement for success.

    • Jacki McInnes says:

      Well put, I wholeheartedly agree with your view. And the one thing that really needs to move at the speed of light is the voting out of the ANC in 2024. Not sure which party is fit to lead SA in their place but a coalition offering a hearty dose of technocrats would be a good place to start.

  • Gerhard Swiegers says:

    Poor Mbalula puts his feet in it again. So the ANC needs a State of Disaster to move with speed. Without it the ANC cannot. We know they cannot even with a State of Disaster. The question is: What is the real agenda? Last time they misused their power from the petty to more corruption.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    If such a dispensation can end load shedding, then the whole cabinet should be arrested for treason for not doing its job.

  • Mike Lamb says:

    The last closest thing to a National State of Disaster was the Covid emergency and look how that was screwed up.

  • Gordon Bentley says:

    NO, NO, NO ANC.
    Declaring a National State of Disaster – The people of South Africa have lost all trust in you – from the people who keep our economy turning over,(and keep you in luxury) to the poorest of the poor we are all gatvol of your looting and lying.

    Remember, if you make this declaration, we know the ANC Cadres, Officials and MPs will begin looting our tax payers money as soon as they can.
    We will be watching you and our fearless, DM investigative Journalists will keep us informed with enough facts to put you all in orange overalls.
    He, he, he.

  • John Georgiou says:

    No need to declare a state of disaster, we’ve been in a state of disaster for more than two decades with these incompetents. The only thing that will get them to “move with speed” will be dodging bullets at a firing squad which is less than they deserve for all the misery they have subjected the people of this country to.

  • Glenne Meldrum says:

    The really frightening thing about having another State of Disaster thrust upon us is worse than the prospect of the criminal looting opportunity it will enable – as bad as that is – but that like the previous one, it will likely be illegal and prosecutable to question or challenge the government’s actions under the SoD regulations. (This is so powerful that DM is still publishing no-commentary disclaimers on some Covid articles way after the suspension of the SoD – shame on you DM). Thus the State of Disaster will give an elite, unelected, unconstitutional, unaccountable committee of a few idiots (with a fancy name like before) carte blanche – again – for the nonsensical, illogical, self-serving and irresponsible infliction of ultimate power on ordinary citizens. Name me one politician who lost their job, their car, their house, their business or their savings under the previous SoD lockdowns THEY imposed on us! And we continued paying them to do it while we were told we had to suck it up for the greater good. No prizes for guessing who’s good they meant. There were many who said beware – the powerful don’t like relinquishing this kind of power – so here we go again. If you don’t think that’s what it is about (oh no, the looming elections have nothing to do with it) I don’t know where you’ve been. It’s time to take out the trash.

  • SAM VAN WYK says:

    I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY THAT YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE SPEED AT WHICH THE STEALING WOULD TAKE PLACE!

  • William Stucke says:

    These 8.5 pages of political drivel are less than useful. What the ANC _REALLY_ needs to do is:
    1. Ditch their Alliance Partners, COSATU and the SACP. They add no value and just take a free ride.
    2. Drop the 1960s rhetoric. Words like “Comrade”, “National Democratic Revolution” and “Developmental State” provide blinkers that force their thinking into narrow channels, in directions that have been amply demonstrated to lead nowhere.
    3. Recognise that Eskom has 5 real problems:
    a. Appallingly badly maintained Generation equipment.
    b. A lack of investment in Transmission.
    c. A lack of investment in and maintenance of Distribution equipment.
    d. A loss of skills as a result of deliberately non-optimal employment policies.
    e. Very high levels of corruption and sabotage.
    4. Increase the electricity supply by removing the barriers to fixing Eskom. These are all political or criminal:
    a. Remove all BEE and AA requirements. It’s more important to get Eskom fixed and up and running than to enrich the already privileged ANC tenderpreneurs, or to bother about people’s skin colour.
    b. Remove all Preferential Procurement requirements. These simply increase the cost to Eskom by 25-30%, enriching the connected and providing zero value to the country.
    c. Remove all Local Content requirements. If anything is to be regarded as an “emergency” it’s these 3 pieces of political baggage.
    d. Get serious about actually catching and prosecuting the saboteurs and thieves in Eskom and its suppliers.

  • William Stucke says:

    Continued …
    5. Recognise that Eskom’s problems will never be solved by “ideas”, or by anything that politicians can come up with. They are Engineering and Finance problems. Use the best available people to solve these problems, regardless of ideology.
    6. Increase the electricity supply by fostering own generation:
    a. Remove all remaining barriers to self-generation and to feeding into the grid.
    b. Provide significant tax incentives to individuals and businesses to install their own generation equipment. Double it for those who install sufficient storage to cater for their own requirements for at least 8 hours.
    c. Eskom and Municipalities must pay a reasonable (set by NERSA) feed-in tariff.
    d. Allow the creation of Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) by interested parties with the right technical and financial skills, where specialist organisations contract with those who have self-generation and/or storage to put their resources under the (remote) control of the VPP to provide Frequency and Ancillary Services (FCAS) to the grid. Those contracting with the VPP are paid for the use of their capacity, and exempted from any network or connection charges. The VPP is in turn paid by Eskom or the relevant Municipalities for FCAS services, which stabilise the network and perform peak shaving. Reward the VPPs handsomely, in the same vein as IPPs. Do not sign long term (20 year) contracts, but automatically renewable contracts, subject to terms.

  • William Stucke says:

    7. Increase the electricity supply by getting serious about IPPs. The entire concept of the DMRE acting as “gatekeeper” between potential IPPS and Eskom (or any other off taker) is deeply flawed. Why are there “windows”? Why are the processes so long delayed? Why were only a few of those who made proposals in the last round deemed to be acceptable by the DMRE? What does the DMRE actually know about demand, supply or the technical nitty gritty? This is not a political question. It’s a technical and economic question. Can an IPP provide a service that is useful to Eskom, a Municipality or any large user at an acceptable price with acceptable service levels? It’s that simple. Why is the DMRE inserting itself between buyer and seller, to the benefit of neither?
    8. Do not sign 20-year contracts with IPPs or any “emergency” procurement. Electricity supply and consumption in RSA must move towards a competitive market, and away from an SOE-based monopoly.
    9. Remove all barriers to IPPs as described above: PPPFA, Local Content, etc. Once again, it’s not about enriching the connected. It’s about solving a technical engineering problem – insufficient electricity supply for the demand.
    10. Improve Eskom’s cashflow by diverting payments from National or Provincial level to Municipalities in arrears to pay Eskom directly.

  • William Stucke says:

    Continued …
    11. Reduce demand by:
    a. Incentivising the installation of solar water heating. This was tried before, but simply resulted in the price of Solar Water Heating systems tripling. A better method is needed, such as tax incentives. Electric geysers typically use 40% of a household’s energy.
    b. Re-introduce Ripple Control on electric geysers, such that these can be turned off remotely at peak times.
    c. Introduce Time of Use tariffs to everyone, such that energy is more expensive during peak times and cheaper in off -peak times. This requires functional Smart Meters, not decades of waffling and RFPs for tenderpreneurs.
    d. Foster own generation as discussed in (6) above.
    12. Get serious about disconnecting illegal connections and keeping them disconnected.
    13. Get serious about disconnecting non-payers, no matter the political cost. There is no reason that the law abiding should subsidise law breakers or free riders.
    14. Appoint technical experts, with a smattering of legal and financial experts to Eskom’s Board, irrespective of ideology or political alignment. Accept that politicians are not technical experts and do NOT know better.
    15. Having appointed the right people to manage Eskom, get out of their way to do their job. Give them 3 years unconditional support and carte blanche to do what they feel is best, in their expert opinion. It will take at least that long.

  • William Stucke says:

    Continued, again …
    16. Recognise that “right sizing” Eskom, and municipalities, is essential to helping them to regain financial stability.
    17. Stop prevaricating about Eskom’s debt. The ANC took over a functional non-profit entity with R18 billion in reserves in 1997, made it into an SOE and broke it. Government is responsible for the disaster that ensued, and must take responsibility by taking over Eskom’s debt, in exchange for their nominal shareholding.
    18. Stop talking about unbundling Eskom into 3 divisions and simply get on with it. Appoint real experts to advise, and actually follow their direction.
    19. Move rapidly towards an open, competitive Generation market, supplying a (for now) monopoly Transmission entity, that in turn supplies energy to Distribution entities.
    20. Remove Municipalities’ de facto monopoly on distribution.
    21. Facilitate wheeling over both the Transmission and Distribution systems, without interference from Eskom or the DMRE. Rates to be set by commercial agreement, with recourse to NERSA if agreement can’t be reached.

    In short, recognise that Eskom’s problems are not political, therefore a political solution will never solve those problems. A State of Disaster most certainly will not help address any of these issues.

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