South Africa’s Eskom Builds Reserves to Power Election
South Africans enduring the worst power cuts on record have been given reassurances that the outages are unlikely to disrupt upcoming municipal elections.
The nation’s energy supply has been patchy since 2005, with state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., struggling to keep pace with demand. Outages that have been instituted since Oct. 23. have enabled it to build up diesel reserves that can be used to power generators during the Nov. 1 vote, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, who oversees the company, told reporters late Wednesday.
Eskom, which supplies almost all the nation’s electricity, has encountered repeated setbacks, including breakdowns at its mainly coal-fired plants and human error. This year’s power cuts have been the worst ever, according to Anton Eberhard, a professor at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
The latest outages are poorly timed for the ruling African National Congress, which has been struggling to revive the coronavirus-battered economy and aims to win back control of several major towns that it lost five years ago. Gordhan said Eskom’s woes stemmed from mismanagement and the plunder of its coffers during former President Jacob Zuma’s rule, which ended in early 2018.
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