Eskom is keeping the lights on before elections... but should we be worried?

Eskom head office at Megawatt Park on Maxwell drive Sandton near Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard/IndependentNewspapers

Eskom head office at Megawatt Park on Maxwell drive Sandton near Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard/IndependentNewspapers

Published Apr 30, 2024


As South Africa prepares for national elections, the recent uninterrupted electricity supply by Eskom has many business people smiling across the country, but many ordinary South Africans are remaining sceptical.

Is the improvement on the provision of electricity an election ploy by the governing African National Congress to boost their chances of electoral success.

Eskom recently celebrated 21 straight days without load shedding, something that has not happened in nearly two years.

In the past two years, Mzansi has experienced 205 and over 332 days of load shedding respectively.

Eskom says this recent improvement comes from better power generation, having enough emergency reserves, and less demand for electricity.

"This recent success is thanks to our hard work in managing our power plants and the lower demand for electricity," Eskom announced, pointing to a significant change from the regular power outages South Africans have faced.

With the elections coming up at the end of May, many are questioning how the state power utility is keeping the lights on.

On social media people are sharing their doubts.

One user said: "Wait until after the elections. The power cuts we’ll face in winter will be rough."

Another user stated: "They will make good opposition then. We are still not voting for them," showing that people are suspicious of the motives behind the improvements.

Eskom’s winter forecast for load shedding predicts no more than Stage 2 load shedding.

To keep the elections smooth, Eskom is working closely with the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to prevent power outages on voting day.

Eskom's general manager Al'louise Van Deventer highlighted their priorities.

"We're making sure that voting stations have power on election day, and we're prepared for any unexpected issues like theft or vandalism even though we can’t guarantee there won’t be problems."

But it's not just experts and social media talking—regular people are also speaking up.

Salamina Mncube from East Rand said: "Every election, things seem to get better temporarily, but let’s see if it lasts after the votes are counted."

Sandile Motau from KwaThema added: “It feels like they're just trying to patch up a big problem temporarily. We need real, lasting solutions, not just quick fixes for votes."

Eskom is trying to make long-term improvements, like adding more power units and using new technology like the biggest battery storage system in Africa.

These steps could mean better power stability.

"We promise to keep power cuts no worse than Stage 4 this summer because of the improvements we have made," Eskom stated, showing hope for ongoing stability.