The DA is calling on Eskom to provide an urgent state-of-the-system update and explain how its loadshedding schedule will be managed to ensure that it does not affect the vaccine rollout process.
The latest announcement of loadshedding from Eskom, announced yesterday evening and just minutes before it began at 5pm, was yet another reminder that “Eskom’s current status, capacity and operational constraints remain an ever-present threat to South Africa’s slow economic recovery”, according to Ghaleb Cachalia, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises.
Cachalia says it is of particular concern that loadshedding will impact the rollout of vaccines.
“What is required is a transparent assessment of capacity for the winter months so people and companies can plan ahead. An urgent state of the system update will be key in ensuring that the efficacy and storage of vaccines is not impacted negatively,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“The return of loadshedding underscores the urgent need to open the market to more generation capacity funded by the private sector. The DMRE needs to up its game in this regard. A case in point is an application form the mining company, Goldfields, for a 40Mw plant which took four years to get approval.
“Eskom and the country is in dire need of additional capacity and it is clear that no further delays must be forthcoming; indeed an acceleration is called for. We are in urgent need of an augmentation of 4000 Mw’s.
“A clear mandate for the private sector to step in where the public sector has failed is what is needed – not the dithering and delays as our days dim and darken.”
The DA says what the SOE Presidents’ Council is doing or has done since its inception in June 2020 is a matter of concern – “even more so as the president appears to be preoccupied with internal party wrangles while the lights dim across the country”.
Cachalia says: “The DA demands a decisive announcement from the President, his Council and the two ministers responsible for Eskom and Energy.”
South Africa’s Vaccine Rollout
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has confirmed that 87 sites are ready to open their doors to vaccinate the elderly as the country ramps up its biggest inoculation effort today Monday, 17 May.
Addressing the media on Sunday evening, Mkhize announced that South Africa was expecting an additional 325 260 doses of Pfizer vaccines, which arrived at midnight.
This means the country now has 975 780 of the double dose jab.
According to Mkhize, the government will run 83 of the vaccination sites, while four will be in the private sector. He said his department was hoping to scale up these centres to about 200 by the end of the week.