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Special cabinet meeting on load shedding

Western Cape Cabinet disappointed that Minister Dlamini-Zuma continues to ignore request for a coordinated disaster Management approach to Load shedding crisis

The Western Cape Cabinet held a special meeting on Wednesday on the current load shedding situation and the impact it has on the Province.

“We are deeply concerned and frustrated by the current load shedding and the negative impact it has on the Province and everyone who must cope with the disruptions on a daily basis. We are very much aware of people’s frustrations, anger, and fear, because Eskom cannot give clear answers on when load shedding will be resolved, nor is there any coordinated approach from national government to mitigate the worst impact of this crisis” Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said.

Bredell said he wrote to Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the 30th of June, highlighting the seriousness of the situation when Eskom first announced stage 6 load shedding. In his letter, Bredell stated that Eskom is a national challenge, but the impacts are experienced on a local level. As such, a nationally coordinated disaster management approach is essential to mitigate the situation. “At this stage, we have not received any feedback from Minister Dlamini-Zuma, or any indication that the National Disaster Management Centre has been activated,” Bredell said.

At the Cabinet meeting, the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC), City of Cape Town and the Provincial Department of Public Works presented their contingency plans and explained how they are lessening the impact of load shedding on citizens.

The Disaster Management Centre presented the Integrated Contingency Plan for Major Electricity Disruptions, which is signed between the Western Cape Government and Eskom. This plan sets out in detail how each stage of load shedding is to be managed and describes the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders.

Bredell said the PDMC has been on high alert since stage 6 load shedding was first implemented. “We have requested all municipalities to report to us in detail on the status of their backup systems. Water and sewage pumps and all emergency services must be able to operate during high levels of load shedding. Municipalities can approach us for assistance in this regard,” Bredell said.

The Department of Public Works presented on real time data that monitors diesel levels at hospitals to ensure backup power is always available.

The PDMC said it is in discussions with the major telecommunications companies about their backup power systems for their communication towers, to urgently secure communication networks during extended periods of load shedding.

“We know this is a stressful time for all. Eskom is a challenge that needs to be solved on a national level, but now we can all help through saving electricity, especially during peak hours,” Bredell said.

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