JOHANNESBURG – Load shedding is now a thing of the past according to President Jacob Zuma, who was addressing staff at Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on Friday.
Zuma was flanked by a large contingent of bodyguards and tactical police during a visit to the power utility's head office. He is expected to visit South African Airways (SAA) later in the day.
During his State of the Nation Address, Zuma announced that government will provide support to a range of state-owned companies while also implementing the reforms that would make them more effective in delivering on their mandates.
Eskom and SAA have faced a slew of operational challenges, with the former having averted major power outages and load shedding for nine consecutive months.
During his visit, Zuma met with the country’s power station managers, toured Eskom’s Integrated Generation Control Centre, and addressed the parastatal’s staff.
“Given the job that I have been given in the country to supervise government, I have a programme to visit companies, villages – there is no place I don’t visit,” Zuma said.
He said he often receives reports on the situation at state-owned companies which do not show the whole picture.
“I have come to see how we are doing. Receiving reports about what is happening might not tell the whole story, anyone can write a report.
“I was saying to your management earlier that I am now aware that we are close to finish(ing) a year without load shedding, and I tell people that we are not going to have it any more,” he said.
“I wondered, having not been here, am I telling the truth? Now I am going to tell people there will never be any load shedding, I have been here, I have seen it,” Zuma added.
Zuma referenced a presentation that he said gave him confidence.
"Even though I did not go to any school, I understood it. It was very articulate. I wanted to run out in the street and say we have won, and I am told that soon we will have surplus energy to sell."