South Africa is facing a power outage

Since Tuesday, June 28, South Africans have been without electricity for at least six hours a day. While the country is subject to regular power outages due to aging and poorly maintained infrastructure, these are the worst load reductions in almost three years in the middle of the southern winter. In question, a social conflict with Eskom, the national operator.

South Africans had not experienced such power outages since December 2019. The rationing has reached step 6 of 8: more than six hours per day without power since Tuesday.

Rationing was carried out by the national operator Eskom, which attributes the power shortage to the strike that some of the employees called last week, after the failure of the discussions on wages. The unions demanded a 15% increase.

Eskom describes the movement as “illegal”, as this strike was banned by a court. And the operator explains that because of him, routine maintenance has been postponed. A delay that will take “days or even weeks to resolve”, Eskom continues in its press release.

The situation is therefore not about to return to normal. These power outages “cause a lot of damage to South Africa’s reputation”, estimates Public Works Minister Pravin Gordhan, who condemns the “scare” that hit most power plants of “90% of teams prevented from joining their workplace.

Negotiations between Eskom’s management and the unions will resume on Friday 1 July.

Read also: The criticized choice of floating power units in South Africa

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