Mabuza meets with Eskom Task Team to mitigate Level 3 load shedding

The worry is that Eskom won't be adequately prepared to handle an industrial reawakening.

Mabuza meets with Eskom Task Team to mitigate Level 3 load shedding

Deputy President David Mabuza has ordered an urgent virtual meeting with the Eskom Task Team amid concerns that the power supplier may struggle with an increased demand during Level 3 lockdown.

Mabuza, whose recent absence from the public eye has been met with apprehension, has returned to the fray to assist with the government’s planned move beyond Level 4 lockdown. The deputy’s meeting with Eskom comes just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the nation, guided by a district-based model, would likely enjoy some regulatory reprieves before the end of May.

Industries lurch back into action

The move to Level 3 lockdown, as described by Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, will be based on regional assessments of readiness. The much-anticipated move will also see the bulk of industries returning to action. This is in line with Ramaphosa’s vision of a resurrected economy which has lay dormant and dysfunctional since lockdown was first instituted at the end of March.

The move to ease economic restrictions does, however, pose a unique problem for the country’s embattled power utility. Prior to the lockdown, Eskom was regarded as the single greatest threat to South Africa’s economic stability as a result of its dire operational failures.

Plagued by mismanagement, crumbling infrastructure and a disastrous maintenance programme, the power supplier struggled to keep the country’s lights burning. Rotational load shedding, at various stages, became a staple of everyday life.

Will there be load shedding at Level 3 lockdown?

While the local COVID-19 outbreak plunged most sectors of the country into turmoil, it afforded Eskom an opportunity to conduct vital repairs to aging power plants and infrastructure. Furthermore, the swift decrease in demand, as a result of the economic shutdown, lightened Eskom’s burden of supply.

The current worry is that Eskom may not have done enough to prepare for an en masse industrial re-entry and that, as gears of production return to the grind, the demand for power may exceed the capacity for supply.

A statement issued by government to announce the meeting between Mabuza and the Eskom Task Team, noted:

“With more sectors of the economy likely to open due to the varied imminent stage three lockdown, as announced by President Ramaphosa, it is essential to ensure that the power supply will be ready and adequate to handle the increased demand placed on the grid by the economic activity.

The winter season calls on the Task Team to plan for the increased power demand for industry as certain sectors open up, and for households as citizens are urged to stay at home to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.”

Level 4 “electricity supply restrictions”

Recent power restrictions in Gauteng, implemented to “safeguard assets”, doesn’t bode well for the country’s electrical prospects. Eskom recently announced that “peak usage” during Level 4 lockdown, which holds serious industrial restrictions, had challenged its capacity to supply.

The power utility added that illegal connections continued to endanger the stability of the electrical grid.

Mabuza is expected to address the Eskom Task Team on Friday 15 May.

Source : The South African More   

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Endangered Species Day 2020: How you can get involved in conservation efforts

Celebrated each year on May 15th, the animal conservation day presents an opportunity for all age groups to be made aware of endangered animal species and how to protect them.

Endangered Species Day 2020: How you can get involved in conservation efforts

South Africa has no shortage of animal species, some that are even endemic to our beloved country. Our animals are often a draw card for tourists, but sadly many of our animal species are facing the possibility of extinction.

Endangered species in South Africa

According to the species list on the World Wide Fund For Nature or WWF, the black rhino is categorised under the critically endangered species list. Due to the demand for the rhino horn for its medicinal purposes, this herbivore is said to have a population of less than 5000.

Animals that appear on the “vulnerable list” include the fastest land animal, the cheetah. With only 7000 of its kind left, the future of this cat species remains uncertain. Other animals that are considered vulnerable include; the African wild dog, which, according to the WWF has a population of less than 1500. South Africa’s national bird; the blue crane, the oribi, and Pickersgill’s reed frog also appear on the vulnerable list, amongst others.

Wildlife Conservation Success Stories around the world

It is not all doom and gloom. There are uplifting wildlife stories that were shared earlier in March to commemorate World Wildlife Day. In the 18th and 19th Century, whales were thought to be near extinction due to the mass hunting for their blubber. Today, there is a mass resurgence in terms of their sightings. Mountain gorilla numbers in East Africa are on the increase, the wild tiger population in India is increasing. The WWF symbol for conservation, the panda, has almost doubled its population to around 1900 after an historic low of 1000 in the 70s.

How can you get involved?

In order to keep up the conservation efforts, your monetary contributions, volunteering and activism can go a long way. The Wildlife Conservation Trust has many community projects and fostering opportunities that you can pledge to or get involved in. Visit their website here.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

Source : The South African More   

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