Anton Bredell, Western Cape Mister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning hosted a meeting with stakeholders at the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) to discuss the current load shedding situation. Eskom briefly implemented Stage 6 on Tuesday before returning to Stage 4. Stage 6 is expected to continue.
Colin Deiner, Chief Director of Western Cape Disaster Management said load shedding is a management tool to prevent a blackout, where the entire electricity grid of South Africa collapses. “As long as load shedding is with us, we need to make sure our contingency plans are in place for regular and high levels of load shedding.”
Deiner added that the load shedding plan is only one of several contingencies plans the PDMC has developed and needs to keep updated on a continuous basis.
Bredell said municipalities need to review their emergency electricity plans. “Make sure backup pumps for water and sewage functions are ready, and that your emergency departments have the required equipment to operate under prolonged load shedding conditions.”
Bredell said the Department of Local Government can assist municipalities with these plans, but that proactive work is needed to prevent potential disasters.
Deiner said provincial departments should place their respective emergency teams on alert for direct communication with the PDMC in a disaster situation. “We are preparing to have permanent representatives of the various District Disaster Management Centres, the City of Cape Town, Eskom, the security cluster, as well as provincial departments at the PDMC to have a straight line of communication to all role players. In this manner we can quickly and accurately share the latest information as it becomes available.
Deiner said that the PDMC takes guidance from Eskom, and at this stage there is no reason to expect the current situation to deteriorate, “but it is the work of Disaster Management to plan ahead and be ready for any eventuality.”