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No end date for South African power cuts -minister

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:08s - Published < > Embed
No end date for South African power cuts -minister

No end date for South African power cuts -minister

South Africa's Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday that he cannot say yet when rolling blackouts will end, as power utility Eskom struggles with capacity shortages.

Zandi Shabalala reports.

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No end date for South African power cuts -minister

Vincent Xaba is not a happy man.

As a restaurant manager in Johannesburg, he's had to throw away more than $500 worth of food, which was spoilt because of rolling electricity blackouts.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGER AT TSA AFRICAN RESTAURANT, VINCENT XABA, SAYING: "We bought a generator, but it's not up to standard electricity.

It is the real commodity, which we are supposed to use.

So, now we don't know when is this going to end.

So, I am losing a lot of money, I am losing a lot of customers because of electricity.

Our meat is getting spoiled, our drinks are getting warm.

Everything is just in a big mess." Eskom - which supplies over 90 percent of South Africa's power - is struggling with capacity shortages.

Following faults at its coal-fired power stations, low water levels at hydroelectric plants, and diesel shortages.

It's also lost electricity imports from neighboring Mozambique after a powerful cyclone - which has ravaged parts of Zimbabwe and Malawi too.

On Tuesday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said he could not give a date for when power cuts will end.

For small and medium-sized business owners, frustration is mounting.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OWNER OF AUTHENTIC SNEAKERS CLINIC, TUMELO, SAYING; "Without electricity it's going to be hardship, it's going to be hard.

So, going forward, I don't know what we can actually do.

It's actually killing us.

It really frustrates me a lot." Eskom's power station performance has deteriorated steeply because of delays to critical maintenance work on ageing power plants.

And long-term neglect means there are no quick fixes.

The crisis presents a threat to President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to boost investments and economic growth.

And it's likely to be a hot topic for voters ahead of a general election in May.

The rolling blackouts - known locally as 'loadshedding' - started last Thursday.

Up to 4,000 megawatts is being cut from the grid on a rotational basis.




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