SONA 2021 Eskom

Photo: GovernmentZA / Twitter

All talk, but where’s the action? Ramaphosa has a new plan for Eskom

With rolling blackouts and poor performance, Ramaphosa felt compelled to address the issue of Eskom during SONA 2021 but will plans be executed?

SONA 2021 Eskom

Photo: GovernmentZA / Twitter

Saying that Eskom has been an issue would be putting it very lightly. There have been multiple load shedding alerts in recent weeks which has angered the public and rightfully so. It was, therefore, no wonder that President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the power utility some airtime in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) inside Parliament on Thursday evening 11 February 2021. 


Ramaphosa, during SONA 2021, said the fourth priority intervention of the Recovery Plan is to rapidly expand energy generation capacity.

“We are working closely with Eskom on proposals to improve its financial position, manage its debt and reduce its dependence on the fiscus. This requires a review of the tariff path to ensure that it reflects all reasonable costs and measures to resolve the problem of municipal debt,” said Ramaphosa. 

Over the last year, Ramaphosa said action has been taken to urgently and substantially increase generation capacity in addition to what Eskom generates:

  • The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will soon be announcing the successful bids for 2 000 megawatts of emergency power;
  • The necessary regulations have been amended and the requirements clarified for municipalities to buy power from independent power producers. Systems are being put in place to support qualifying municipalities; and 
  • Government will soon be initiating the procurement of an additional 11,800 megawatts of power from renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019.

Despite this, Eskom estimates that, without additional capacity, there will be an electricity supply shortfall of between 4,000 and 6,000 megawatts over the next five years, as old coal-fired power stations reach the end of their lifespan.

“As part of the measures to address this shortfall, we will in the coming weeks issue a request for proposals for 2,600 megawatts from wind and solar energy as part of Bid Window 5. This will be followed by another bid window in August 2021,” Ramaphosa said during SONA 2021.

“Recent analysis suggests that easing the licensing requirements for new embedded generation projects could unlock up to 5,000 megawatts of additional capacity and help to ease the impact of load shedding. We will therefore amend Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act within the next three months to increase the licensing threshold for embedded generation,” he added. 


As much as we would love to be rid of Eskom’s load shedding today, it’s may not happen anytime soon. 

We have been haunted by Stage 2 load shedding on and off for weeks and recently even upgraded to Stage 3. Energy analysts Ted Blom and Chris Yelland recently expressed frustration regarding the bouts of power cuts. 

Following an alert, Blom took to social media saying; “here we go again”. 

Yelland said it came as no surprise and would most likely be with us for the next two years.  

“We can expect this intermittent load shedding to be on and off for the next two years, that’s what we’ve been told loud and clear. If it’s not wet coal, it’s hot weather, if it’s not hot weather, it’s rainy weather, windy weather, wet coal, dry coal, you name it. It’s all a matter of excuses but bottom line is that we have a power system that is not showing the necessary resilience, it’s completely abnormal,” he said.