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'Heads must roll': UDM calls for MPs to urgently debate Eskom crisis

UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa. File photo.
UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa. File photo.
Image: Nqabayomzi Kwankwa via Twitter

The UDM wants National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to convene an urgent sitting of the assembly to debate SA’s rolling blackouts.

Parliament is in recess and is scheduled to resume only on August 15.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa has written to Mapisa-Nqakula requesting that the house be called back from recess and that she schedule a debate on the load-shedding crisis and its effect on the economy and households as an urgent matter of national public importance.

Kwankwa invoked rule 130(3)(b) of the National Assembly rules, which provides for the speaker to convene a special sitting of the house for an urgent discussion at the request of an MP.

He cited a number of studies and articles published about the effect of load-shedding on the economy as his motivation for the urgency.

“In a study conducted in 2018, it was established that load-shedding is costing the engineering industry in excess of R2bn per week,” he said.

“It is calculated that as of March 2022, load-shedding already caused lost economic output of about R700m per stage per day and in a presentation to parliament on March 15 2022, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research noted that 2021 was the worst year on record for load-shedding with 1,169 hours of outages and 2,521 GWh of energy shed.

“It added that 2022 is already off to a poor start with 261 hours of outages to date and 554 GWh of energy shed,” said Kwankwa.

Furthermore, he quoted the CSIR which said that, based on 2021’s data and the diesel price, SA faces additional costs of R15bn.

“This is a dire picture indeed,” said Kwankwa.

Those who work part-time find that they are not being called for cancelled shifts. Those who heavily rely on the internet for an income are totally hamstrung for hours in a day. Households have been made to replace appliances at an unprecedented rate as load-shedding and power surges damage their electronics and devices
Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, UDM MP

He said countless small, medium and micro enterprises had gone under as they could not absorb the effect of load-shedding.

“Those who work part-time find that they are not being called for cancelled shifts. Those who heavily rely on the internet for an income are totally hamstrung for hours in a day.

“Households have been made to replace appliances at an unprecedented rate as load-shedding and power surges damage their electronics and devices.”

He said Eskom has to be held responsible for load-shedding.

“When one considers that it has been continuing for more than a decade, the cost to the economy becomes apparent — and that continued load-shedding will only wipe out what little is left of it.”

This, Kwankwa said, justified why public representatives have to pay heed to the crisis by debating the matter and crafting a plan for the future to take SA out of the quagmire. He said Eskom should be summoned to appear before the public enterprises portfolio committee.

“It is time that the executive management at Eskom be held responsible for this mess. Heads must roll,” he said.

Eskom introduced stage 6 load-shedding on Tuesday afternoon with CEO Andre de Ruyter saying the power utility was experiencing unprotected strikes, leading to staff shortages which were also causing delays in maintenance and repairs.

De Ruyter said Eskom had an unplanned loss of 14,204MW and this was being made worse by shortages of coal and labour.

TimesLIVE


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