ANC calls for tough action to fix cash-strapped power utility

The ANC has called for “tough action” to be taken to fix Eskom after the power utility plunged the country into stage six of loadshedding.

Speaking at the Nasrec Expo Centre near Soweto on Wednesday, where the ANC will hold its 55th national elective conference from December 16-20, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said it is not enough for the ruling party to keep calling on the Eskom board to fix the crucial state-owned enterprise, which has been partly blamed for the country’s economic woes.

“We are quite concerned that we are hitting stage six of loadshedding. I don’t think it is enough for us to keep calling on Eskom [to end loadshedding], South Africans need action from the ANC. Our deployees in government must act. It is now time for action,” Mabe said.

“We need to give South Africans certainty. We can’t make rhetorical questions on energy, unfortunately.”

Mabe could not be drawn in on whether Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan should resign amid the rolling power cuts.

He said the management at Eskom has to ensure that the country’s policy of energy mix is implemented. Just before midday, Eskom announced that it will ramp up loadshedding to stage six until further notice.

“This is due to a high number of breakdowns since midnight, as well as the requirement to strictly preserve the remaining emergency generation reserves. Eskom will publish a full statement in due course,” the power utility, which has been battling a R400-billion debt and an ageing fleet of power stations, said in a statement.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana recently announced that the government will take on between a third and two-thirds of Eskom’s debt.

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