Eskom

South Africa's public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan, said on Wednesday that if necessary, loadshedding would only be implemented at Stage 1 until August.

Addressing media at an Eskom Electricity Supply press briefing, Gordhan, along with Eskom board chairman Jabu Mabuza and several other Eskom executives, confirmed that Eskom's technical review team need 10 to 14 days to assess the various power plants after the country experienced Stage 4 loadshedding two weeks ago.

According to Gordhan, the utility has implemented a winter plan that will commence in May.

Mabuza noted that the construction of the coal plants Medupi and Kusile would continue, despite their poor design and financial woes. "We are continuously looking at various alternative mechanisms of addressing our funding issues." Read more: Eskom’s poor maintenance plan has led to loadshedding

In response, Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa's senior political advisor has said: “Eskom has completely dropped the ball, and backed away from a golden opportunity to avoid a coal-induced coma by deciding to complete construction on the failing mega coal-fired power station Kusile today.

"It is baffling that Eskom still stands so firmly behind deadly, unreliable coal, even when offered an escape route. The coal-fired power station has not been constructed properly, and Eskom plans to simply continue throwing money into a bottomless pit in the hope that they can ‘fix’ the design problems."

According to Khambule, renewable energy projects in South Africa have proven that they can deliver on time and on budget. "Renewable energy is the answer to any gaps that not completing Kusile may create. Construction at the plant is already heavily-delayed and over-budget. If Eskom had stepped away from Kusile today, the government could easily fast-track public renewable energy investments, and remove all existing barriers, which would create a completely different playing field."

"It would be much easier for the South African public to fully support a utility that is accountable and transparent, is a leader in renewable energy and does not condemn future generations to climate chaos because of its unrelenting addiction to coal," said Khambule.

"Rooftop solar PV is a no-brainer to help meet our electricity needs. Instead, South Africans are doomed to half a century of massively polluted air, soaring electricity tariffs and an unreliable electricity supply, if Eskom gets it way. We call on the Minister of Public Enterprises to engage further with Eskom on cancelling the completion of Kusile and to provide the conditions for Eskom to begin participating in the renewable energy revolution.” Read: Poll Results: What to prioritise to overcome loadshedding?