President Cyril Ramaphosa "deeply regrets" the current electricity crisis and has demanded "urgency" in implementing priority areas of the National Energy Plan.
This is according to the Presidency spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, in a media briefing on Thursday afternoon about Ramaphosa's programme update.
On Wednesday, Eskom announced Stage 6 loadshedding until further notice, with the power utility saying this resulted from breakdowns at its power stations.
Magwenya said: "The president acknowledges the frustration of households, parents, and learners who have commenced the school calendar year facing power shortages. The devastation to small businesses and the adverse impact on the economy remains severe for South Africa's recovering economy."
He said Ramaphosa is occupied with "finding a sustainable solution" to loadshedding.
Ramaphosa had been receiving constant briefings on Eskom and the rollout of the National Energy Plan.
Magwenya said last month that Ramaphosa had convened a national energy crisis committee with ministers and various technical workstream leads and that further engagements to review the situation and find "urgent measures" to address load shedding are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
"Whilst the president acknowledged some of the progress made in the executing elements of the National Energy Plan, he further demanded more urgency and speed in the implementation of all priority areas and actions laid out in the National Energy Plan," he added.
Magwenya said despite the ongoing loadshedding the National Energy Crisis Committee work streams had made progress in several areas.
These included, he said, an independent team that has been put together to diagnose challenges at power stations. The team, which includes former power station managers, is working with Eskom management and the board of Eskom.
According to Magwenya, the team has looked at power stations such as Kusile, Tutuka, and Kriel.
In his ANC January 8 speech in Mangaung last weekend, Ramaphosa said loadshedding was harming the party's public standing and would form part of the governing party's priority in 2023. He said ending loadshedding was one of seven priorities of the party.
He said the government and Eskom needed to ensure the return of additional units at the power utility to clamp down on power cuts. At the same time, the government also needed to implement its plans of sourcing other forms of energy besides coal.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the National Energy Regulator approved an 18.65% electricity tariff hike, while Eskom had asked for a 32% tariff increase.
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