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Load-shedding a concern for 2019 poll

Load-shedding is an acute concern for the Electoral Commission of South Africa ahead of the key May 8 general election, particularly regarding the counting of votes which generally takes place at night.

IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamobolo on Wednesday told journalists the agency has interacted with Eskom on the matter.

A power outage during the counting process could place the process at risk and at worst, compromise the credibility of the election.

READ MORE: Eskom cannot rule out more rolling blackouts in coming months

The power utility on Tuesday informed the nation that it would only know in two weeks time how long the current spate of load shedding could last. It painted a fire picture of a perfect storm hampering Eskom’s ability to meet South Africa’s power demands. 

The crisis was wrought by a massive debt book of R419-billion, resulting in the power utility having to borrow to service, a lack of maintenance of ageing power stations and build faults in new power stations Medupi and Kusile. The situation was worsened this week when a tropical storm hit Mozambique and Eskom is also facing diesel shortages.

READ MORE: Medupi and Kusile: Costly and faulty

Voting stations are likely to be hit by load shedding, should it last into May.

“we are going to have to institute second tier contingency plans especially for the counting processes,” Mamabolo said.

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Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

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