Blame apartheid for Eskom woes, says Zuma

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President Jacob Zuma says our electricity crisis has its roots in apartheid.

CAPE TOWN - The recent countrywide power cuts have cost business a lot of money, the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Friday.
 
"This is a crisis for the country and a disaster for many industries, and people in high places need to be made aware of the real consequences of the Eskom fiasco," president Janine Myburgh said in a statement.
 
But President Jacob Zuma said on Friday the current situation wasn&39;t his government&39;s fault but that of the apartheid regime. (see story in the video above)
 
The utility has battled to keep the lights on in recent weeks amid the collapse of a coal storage silo, diesel shortages, and maintenance issues.
 
Last weekend Eskom implemented stage three power cuts.
 
Stage one allows for up to 1000MW of the national load to be shed, stage two for up to 2000MW, and stage three for up to 4000MW. Power is cut to areas in rotation to prevent a total collapse of the power grid, until the issues causing the problem are resolved.
 
Even worse
 
Myburgh said a survey of just one industrial area in the Cape -- Parow Industria -- revealed that ceramic factories may have to close their doors as a result of the power cuts.
 
Kilns took up to 10 hours to reach the required temperatures and any interruption to the power supply caused quality problems.
 
Kilns had to cool down completely before they could be restarted and the loss of product, production time and the risk of further power cuts meant that it is not worth carrying on until there was a secure power supply.
 
"In the metal industry the situation is even worse," said Myburgh.
 
"When furnaces lose power, the metal in them can solidify, causing many thousands of rand damage as well as the loss of two day&39;s production time," she said.
 
Myburgh said the food industry had also been hit hard.
 
Ice cream and dairy factories, which were operating at full capacity for the season, were losing product, and that while labour costs were increasing as companies had to pay overtime.
 
"The baking and confectionery industries operate within very precise temperature ranges and when the power goes, product is lost and equipment damaged. Losses can exceed R100,000 in stock value on a single product," she said.
 
-eNCA and Sapa 

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