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South Africa faces most drastic outages since 2019

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South Africans are experiencing, in the middle of winter, the country’s most drastic outages since 2019.

The state-owned electricity utility, Eskom, will implement stage 6 of load shedding between 4 and 10 pm on Wednesday.

Stage 6 means that power cuts could be increased to 6,000 MW. South Africans expect to endure on a rotational basis multiple cuts a day – each lasting between two and four hours – as they try to use electricity sparingly.

Breakdown of power stations and strikes

Persistent electricity disruptions partly due to the breakdown of power stations have affected South Africa’s economy. This time, the state Enterprises Minister cited ongoing strikes over wages and intimidation of workers willing to attend to their duties as the main reasons behind the current situation. “Eskom is in this position because of the industrial action which has meant that in many power stations up to 90% of the staff could not attend to the duties… because of intimidation,” Pravin Gordhan told a media briefing.

In Eskom’s latest statement, the company confirms to the public that load shedding could last until Friday and shall be reduced to stage 4 and 2.

South Africans are urged to use electricity sparingly in order to help prevent nationwide blackouts. The public utility insists load shedding is implemented only as a last resort.