Eskom has announced that it will implement stage 6 load shedding on Thursday from 14:00 to midnight, followed by stage 4 until 05:00 on Friday – this as worker absenteeism remains high, making it difficult for the utility to conduct routine maintenance on its systems and other operational requirements.
Stage 6 will continue throughout Friday from 05:00, and a minimum of Stage 4 is to be expected continuously over the weekend.
According to the power utility, workers reporting to work to fulfil essential duties continue to face intimidation from disgruntled Eskom employees, despite both the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan calling for workers to return to work on Tuesday.
The utility says owing to the illegal and unprotected wage strike – which began on 22 June – there has been widespread disruption to its power plants, and it is still unable to return some generators to service.
Adding that this is the only option it has to protect its systems. Eskom has also warned consumers that the risk to further adjust load shedding schedules remains.
Eskom systems are currently highly compromised with 3 161 megawatts (MW) of capacity out on planned maintenance while a further 17 467MW unavailable due to breakdowns.
The utility has called on union members to return to work, as they are legally obligated to do and aid in the system’s recovery.
“The unlawful strike has a serious detrimental impact not only on Eskom, but also on the broader South African public and economy,” it added.