Eskom has moved to stage 4 load shedding on Saturday (21 May), as demand is higher than anticipated, while some units have tripped, it said.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan meanwhile, has said that the incident of cable theft at the Hendrina Power Station, by people suspected to work at the plant, is along with several other incidents the reason that millions of South Africans have had to sit in the dark this week.
Gordhan said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote at a plenary of the National Assembly on Friday.
“I was informed by the management of Eskom this morning that yet another incident has taken place at the Hendrina Power Station, where an important cable which is required to start a unit that was undergoing repairs and to get it synchronised with the rest of the system was cut.
“So these flexible copper bars which are required to synchronise this unit to the rest of the power infrastructure was stolen next to the generator and the reactor earth bars, as they are called, were also stolen by obviously people working within the power station,” he said.
This comes as Eskom has implemented stage 2 load shedding every day between 17:00 and 22:00 this week.
#Loadshedding will be increased to Stage 4 from 13:00 until 22:00 tonight. #Stage4 loadshedding will be implemented at 08:00 until 22:00 tomorrow night. Demand is higher than anticipated, some units have tripped.
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) May 21, 2022
Gordhan said that this incident, along with other incidents, was the reason most South Africans found themselves without electricity this week.
“These are among other revelations that have occurred over the past few days – the corruption with the supply of oil, the cable that was cut at another power station a few days ago – these are all directly related to the load shedding that we experience today over and above other operational issues.
“I thought it was important that the public is aware of some of the challenges we face, something that I will return to,” he said.
Gordhan said the acts of “the greedy, the corrupt, the bully, the counter-revolutionary set back our progress as a democracy and stop us from becoming a caring nation”.
“While they sit back to enjoy their spoils, the damage they cause is borne by our communities – by workers, by small businesses, by the unemployed and youth
Now is the time for all of us to join the ranks of those who want to build a better future and better institutions and not just point fingers among us.
“Now is the time to care for the hungry, the marginalised, those in despair. Nothing can destroy the might of an organised people driven by a clear vision and who take their destiny into their own hands and change the course of history,” said Gordhan.
For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:
For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on loadshedding.eskom.co.za.
Smartphone users can also download the app EskomSePush to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, as well as the times the area you are in will be off.