Braai time as South Africa suffers Stage 4 Loadshedding this weekend. Photo: iStockPhoto

Many South Africans may be enjoying more than one braai this weekend as Eskom today escalated load shedding to Stage 4, blaming it on the ongoing unprotected labour action.

In a statement, Eskom said it was compelled to take precautionary action to conserve emergency generation reserves.

“Load shedding will regretfully be implemented to stage 4 from 11am until midnight. On Saturday and Sunday, stage 4 load shedding will be implemented from 5am until midnight.

“It is necessary to bolster emergency generation reserves to react to unforeseen circumstances, as well as to replenish emergency reserves to prepare for the week ahead.”

The utility said this would help fill the generation deficit, while dealing with generating units that may trip amidst the disturbances and compensate for the inability to return generating units timeously to service.

“While exploring possible solutions to unlock the deadlock with the unions, Eskom appeals to its labour partners and striking employees to embrace the higher purpose of putting the people of South Africa first, respect the law and to desist from illegal and undemocratic conduct.

“However, Eskom cautions the public that as the shortage of generation capacity persists, the system will continue to be constrained with an elevated risk of loadshedding over the coming weeks.”

Eskom again appealed to all South Africans to help limit the impact of the shortages by continuing to « reduce the usage of electricity and to switch off all non-essential items. We currently have 2 766MW on planned maintenance, while another 17 395MW of capacity is unavailable due to breakdowns.”

South Africans are urged to use electricity sparingly. –