17 Apr

Picture: Benzoix – Freepik.com

UASA Media Release: 17 April 2023

Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:

With winter approaching and at least stage 8 load shedding looming, South Africans are held hostage by government and have to plead just to receive essential services for which they already pay a hefty price. On the back of persistent stage 6 power cuts of late, we are in for a difficult winter.

As colder temperatures kick in, power demand will increase, and misery will kick in for those who cannot afford power-generating alternatives. Eskom’s inability to maintain power plants and find efficient ways to produce more electricity reliably, has resulted in the new Energy Minister Kgosientso Ramokgopa warning that Eskom faces a shortfall of 8 000MW to 10 000MW this winter, which equates to stage-8 power cuts.

During his State of the Nation Address in February, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa declared the energy crisis a (short-lived) national state of disaster and deployed Ramokgopa. The government’s electricity crisis window-dressing efforts have left us where we were before – in a state going nowhere under the leadership of an inept government that fails to ensure the survival and wellbeing of the nation.

Industries, businesses and workers alike crumble due to the blackouts and the high cost of alternative energy generation. Learners whose parents cannot afford alternatives are forced to study by candlelight. The more prolonged power outages have started to affect the water supply in some areas as well. South Africans are increasingly suffering from emotional well-being issues due to the stress caused.

With all the so-called interventions, why is Eskom still failing to produce enough power? Research indicates that it is likely not due to ageing infrastructure alone, as is often claimed, as some of the oldest power stations globally, work perfectly well, if adequately maintained. We need transparency! Is the government really trying to remedy our electricity challenges, which they are fully to blame for, or are South Africans being taken for a ride?

Without an efficient and sustainable power supply, industrialisation and economic production will suffer. Already energy experts predict that the food distribution chain will show signs of failure soon. We cannot afford any more business closures and retrenchments with our already too high unemployment rate.

The looming stage 8 outages will threaten jobs and income. Livelihoods are at stake. If we don’t act decisively, we may never recover any time soon.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at  065 170 0162.

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