Following the unexplained and unexpected plunge into stage 3 load-shedding a few moments ago, I have written to the CEO of Eskom, Tshediso Matona, urgently seeking an explanation as to why the announcements made by Eskom are erratic and have no sense of forward planning, or awareness of the true state of the crisis facing the utility.
The current announcements are more aptly described as a situation characterized by disorganization and disarray.
Today, 5 February, the country has for the first time entered stage 3 load-shedding – without prior warning- when we were told just yesterday that the risk of load-shedding had been minimised.
Yesterday, 4 February, the country was told to brace itself for stage 2 load-shedding and imminent lights out only for the warning to be curtailed and the country moved back to stage 1.
Today a South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) report highlighted electricity power outages as one of the continuing high-risk disruptions to the economy and businesses. Being fed confusing information, which can change at any time, does not aid business’s cause at all.
The current system is clearly failing. In the face of the crisis, consistency and uniformity is of the utmost importance.
Eskom has established principles for the design of its schedules and the announcements are meant to communicate this clearly and simply to the nation. Inexcusably though, the announcements have so far only been able to firstly alarm and then confuse the country.
The current hit-or-miss announcements lead to businesses being unable to correctly plan when they can switch off their machinery to prepare for load shedding, and workers are not given enough notice in terms of their work schedule. Announcements that cannot be taken on face value are highly disruptive to our economy and to our national drive for job creation.
Eskom continues to have the pretence that there is order when there is in fact confusion and no way of predicting what will happen next. The uncertainly and unpredictability of load shedding leaves businesses exposed and powerless in the face of rampant economic decline and inadequate national leadership.
It is high time that Eskom release announcements in regards to load-shedding only once they are certain that what they announce is in fact what will transpire. If Eskom’s announcements are to be believed – let alone relied upon – then we can no longer tolerate unpredictable announcements that are forever being altered.
This inspires no confidence from citizens, from business and international investors. If we are to live with load-shedding for the foreseeable future, then Eskom must get its act together in terms of announcements.
If Eskom truly is unaware of the true state of the electricity generation shortfall they should be forthcoming with the public instead of making announcements that are not rooted in any factual basis but are at best good estimates.
Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
Source : Democratic Alliance