Eskom has been implementing power cuts regularly since the beginning of the year as it struggles to maintain its ageing fleet, but the situation worsened dramatically after wage talks deadlocked and workers went on an unlawful strike.
In a statement released on Sunday, the utility said it would implement stage 6 load-shedding on Monday afternoon, with varying degrees of cuts throughout the week, depending on the extent to which employees return to work on Monday.
With a full workforce, it would gradually lower loadshedding to stage 2 by the weekend, it said.
“With the exception of Matla [power station], there has been a marked increase in employees returning to work during the weekend. We expect all workers to return this week as the wage negotiations get resolved,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said.
Asked whether Eskom had sufficient diesel to run its open cycle gas turbine power plants, Mantshantsha said: “Eskom continues receiving all fuel supplies as planned and has used this period to replenish to satisfactory levels.”
Wage talks between Eskom and unions were expected to resume on Tuesday.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said on Friday that about half of SA’s power outages last week were due to the strike. Eskom staff are classified as essential workers and are ostensibly prohibited from striking.
While management’s focus is on stabilising the power grid and bringing broken-down generation units back online, the utility will nevertheless take disciplinary action against workers who stayed away unlawfully.
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