Frustrated South Africans suffered through another round of power cuts on Thursday evening, as embattled state utility provider Eskom warned that it needed to extend the load shedding “in order to protect the power system from a total collapse.”
Eskom had earlier warned of the potential for power cuts because of unplanned breakdowns in the system that would needed to be contained at or below 9500 MW of power generation. “In the event generator breakdowns are experienced beyond 10500 MW there will be high usage of emergency resources (diesel and pumped storage generators), which may lead to load shedding if the supply constraints are sustained for a long duration,” the company said.
By 8 p.m., customers said they were still in the dark beyond the expected load shedding rotation times. Those cuts were likely to extend until at least 11 p.m., the company said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week that Eskom would not be privatized, despite South Africa’s economic woes and the effort to curb the corruption and mismanagement often associated with the country’s failing state-owned entities.
On Monday, the Department of Public Enterprises announced that South African Airways “cannot continue in its current form.”
“The airline group will now go through a radical restructuring process which will ensure its financial and operational sustainability. There is no other way forward,” the department said. “The South African government is committed to a viable, sustainable, profitable national airline. In pursuance of this, various options are being explored.”