- South Africa’s energy utility, Eskom, has noted various misleading media news articles over the past few days making serious and regrettable mistakes in their reporting on Eskom.
- The media has a responsibility and serious obligation to report the facts accurately and honestly as the information they place in the public domain affects perceptions, investment and economic decisions affecting the whole country.
Eskom wishes to place on the record that it has not at any stage made any statement that loadshedding will last five more years, as alleged by online publication Fin24 on Monday. It is regrettable that such an alarmist statement was published, when it was not substantiated by what Eskom has said.
What Eskom wishes to repeat, as stated at the detailed media briefing on Monday, is that the current shortages of electricity generation infrastructure amount to a deficit currently of 4 000MW. This may gap indeed widen should demand for electricity increase. This is consistent with what President Ramaphosa said during the 2021 State of the Nation Address: “…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 their end of life.”
Duvha power station coal supply
In its reporting based on anonymous sources, the Sunday Times alleged that Eskom was defying and “ignoring” the National Treasury’s rejection of a bid to extend a coal supply contract with South32, a company that currently supplies the Duvha Power Station. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eskom has not, and will not, defy any Treasury regulations on the matter, or any other legitimate Treasury decision.
At all material times Eskom’s management team respects and complies with all its obligations under the Public Finance Management Act. In October 2020, National Treasury rejected Eskom’s deviation application for approval to solicit long term coal supply for Duvha Power Station from a single source, i.e. South32’s tied colliery. However, National Treasury supported the extension of the supply of coal to Duvha by South32 under the current interim relief agreement.
As Eskom has stated on numerous occasions, including in an interview with the Sunday Times, the continued supply of coal to Duvha Power Station is critical to ensure security of supply for the country. As such, Eskom is in the process of submitting an application to National Treasury in order to secure the coal supply and secure the approximately 2 875MW of electricity output from the power station facility.