South Africa’s Ramaphosa refutes power cut halt for election gain

South Africa has seen a dramatic improvement in its power supply, with no “load-shedding” (rolling blackouts) for 48 consecutive days. 

This comes after years of crippling power cuts that plagued the nation. 

However, the timing of this improvement, just weeks before the May 29th elections, has sparked controversy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attributes the progress to the government’s 2022 energy plan, citing increased maintenance efforts, new renewable energy sources, and a rise in rooftop solar installations. 

He dismisses opposition claims that the pause in load-shedding is an election ploy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party, disagrees. 

They suspect “political interference” by the ruling ANC, accusing them of pressuring Eskom to prioritize keeping the lights on over long-term solutions.

Adding fuel to the fire, Eskom’s former CEO, Andre de Ruyter, alleges the ANC is burning excessive diesel to artificially inflate power supply. 

Energy regulator Nersa confirms an increase in diesel usage by Eskom in April, exceeding half their typical quarterly limit. 

This contradicts the government’s narrative and raises concerns about the sustainability of this power solution.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa vehemently denies these accusations, praising Eskom’s efforts from top to bottom. 

He maintains the progress is genuine and not a result of manipulating the system.

The situation remains complex. While South Africans enjoy a reprieve from the crippling power cuts, the source of this improvement and its long-term viability are yet to be determined. 

The elections loom large, and the issue of energy security is likely to remain a key battleground for competing political parties.

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