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Significant electricity shortages in South Africa are causing daily blackouts in several areas of the country lasting up to ten hours.

The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy estimates that 58,095 megawatts (MW) are available for use in South Africa’s total domestic electricity generation capacity from all sources. With coal making up around 80% of the energy mix in the nation, coal is currently South Africa’s main energy source. However, real power generation is far lower due to the age and state of disrepair of several of the nation’s coal power plants, leaving a gap of approximately 4000–6000 MW.

Since 2008, rolling blackouts have plagued South Africa, getting worse despite constant promises from the government to stop them. The nation’s dilapidated and badly maintained power plants, managed by indebted state operator Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., are unable to meet demand, and court cases and grid restrictions have postponed plans to purchase additional electricity from private providers. In order to lead the response to the issue, President Cyril Ramaphosa named Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as minister of electricity in March, knowing that the ruling party would lose its majority in the 2024 elections. His attempts to turn around Eskom have only been haltingly successful. Dan Marokane, the utility’s 15th chief executive appointed since 2007, was chosen the next CEO in December.

This is what caused the present, terrible power outages, referred to as “load shedding” in the area. There are political, social, and economic ramifications to this serious problem.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is pursuing a 200 billion rand (USD 10.5 billion) tender with Karpowership SA in response to this situation, with the goal of securing emergency power for the following 20 years. Karpowership intends to use gas on its anchored ships to produce electricity while they are berthed in three different South African ports: Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal province, Ngqura (Coega) in the Eastern Cape region, and Saldanha in the Western Cape province.

South Africa’s ports and logistics network are vital to many of its neighboring countries, as it has a pivotal position in regional trade. The transportation of goods throughout the entire region may be severely hampered if its logistics system operates poorly as a result of power outages.

Since SADC nations are highly dependent on one another for manufacturing, storage, and transportation, energy security is a problem that can only be solved at the regional level.This stalemate is best illustrated by South Africa’s sluggish transition to renewable energy, despite the country’s considerable technological and infrastructural capabilities. The shift has been slowed down by the country’s inconsistent policies and strong interests in the energy industry.

The SADC region has a lot of possibilities and is rich in natural resources, including a large potential for solar energy. But South Africa has continued to rely on traditional resources, such as coal. In the past, the nation sent electricity to countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana. However, the SADC as a whole is in danger due to its current energy problems unless there is a coordinated regional energy policy.

The absence of a coherent regional strategy for energy security has been glaring. Individual nations have frequently ignored the larger objectives of regional integration and shared energy security in favor of focusing their policies primarily on meeting their own needs.

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