Eskom expects no load-shedding as demand drops during lockdown

Eskom says it expects to keep the lights on during the national lockdown.Eskom says it expects to keep the lights on during the national lockdown.
Image: 123RF Eskom
Eskom does not expect to implement load-shedding during the Covid-19 national lockdown, which is to start on midnight on Thursday.

“Demand for electricity has dropped by more than 6,000MW on Thursday afternoon, with further demand reduction anticipated during the lockdown,” Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom said to protect the integrity of the system, it had started taking some generation units off the grid.

These units are available to return to service at short notice should the need arise.

Eskom said it had to postpone the “philosophy maintenance” model for the duration of the lockdown as it had to keep the number of workers on site to a minimum.

The “philosophy maintenance” model entails servicing of generation units in strict adherence to prescribed maintenance schedules.

“We have instead shifted the focus to carrying out short-term maintenance and other repairs to optimise the generation units to meet the rising demand after the lockdown.

Eskom said unplanned outages or breakdowns were at 9,116MW at 4.15pm on Thursday and planned maintenance outages were at 5,279MW.

“Eskom advises that as an essential and critical services supplier, some of its personnel are exempt from the provisions of the lockdown. As such, we do not expect any impediments to the generation and supply of electricity during this period.”

Eskom said its suppliers, particularly the coal mines, logistics suppliers and those supplying the parts and maintenance services at its power stations, will be able to operate during the lockdown.

Here’s the Cape Town lockdown lowdown from mayor Dan Plato

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato briefed the city's four million people on Thursday about how city council services would be delivered during the three-week Covid-19 lockdown.Cape Town mayor Dan Plato briefed the city’s four million people on Thursday about how city council services would be delivered during the three-week Covid-19 lockdown.
Image: GroundUp/Ashraf Hendricks
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato issued a lengthy statement on Thursday about how the three-week lockdown will affect services the city council provides for four million people.

It covers clinics, safety and security, waste removal, water and sanitation, electricity, transport, cemeteries, finance, vehicle registration, housing, informal settlement, homeless people, council facilities, fleet management and municipal courts.Here are the details
The City of Cape Town is primed to continue delivering essential services to residents during the three-week lockdown that takes effect at midnight.

However, we have had to institute mitigation measures to ensure that we operate within the framework of the lockdown, as set out by the president in his address to the nation earlier this week, and that we abide by the hygiene and social-distancing protocols that have been advanced since the virus was first detected in South Africa.

The city would therefore like the public to take note of the following arrangements that have been put in place:

City clinics
Clinics across the city will still operate for the collection of medication and for primary health care services.

When visiting a clinic, all patients are required to maintain social distancing and ensure that they make use of the provided hand-sanitiser.

The City of Cape Town, in conjunction with the metro district health service, is looking at various ways in which to reduce the number of clients presenting at health facilities.

A number of initiatives have already been undertaken, while others are in the pipeline. These include:

Increasing chronic medication packs to last for two months — and three months in some instances;
Establishing quick pickup points for medication outside the clinic;
Nurses giving medication for minor ailments from the consulting rooms to lighten the load on the facility pharmacies;
Where possible, home deliveries of medication by community health workers of NGO partners;
Spacing/postponing non-essential follow-up appointments;
Installation of tents where clients will be triaged before they enter the facility; and
Educating the community at large on the importance of social distance.
We urge the communities to understand the inevitable delays resulting from the implementation of these new measures. Ultimately, we require the public’s assistance during the lockdown period and we urge residents to please only visit their clinic if they are in urgent need of medical care.

Safety and security
The safety and security operations during the lockdown will continue with key departments geared to protect citizens, property and the city’s emergency response teams.

The Cape Town traffic service and law enforcement operations will remain operational during this time. Additionally, the fire and rescue services will remain operational.

We continue to request that all residents adhere to the lockdown regulations to ensure the safety of themselves and other residents.

The metropolitan police service during this time will work with our national security forces, the SA Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to monitor and enforce strict adherence to the guidelines outlined by the president during the 21-day lockdown.

The disaster operations centre will be activated and run 24 hours a day during this period, acting as a central information point to communicate swiftly with the public during emergencies.

This centre plays an essential role in co-ordinating and integrating multiple emergency services and other essential services to ensure that these organisations work together, to ensure effective response and recovery from disasters.

The city’s 107 operation centre will remain open during this period. The city reminds the public to please save the number for the public emergency communication centre on their cellphones.

The number to dial in the event of an emergency is 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

In addition, city emergency and policing vehicles have started loud hailing across areas communicating the lockdown and disseminating information on basic health and safety measures.

Waste removal
Every effort will be made to ensure collection of solid waste continues as normal, however this may be affected due to staff availability.

If services are affected, residents should please take their bin out every morning (preferably by 6.30am when trucks start clearing their beats) and taking it back in every night after 9pm until it is collected.

Current indications are that delays should not last for more than a week, and in most cases, backlogs will be cleared more quickly.

Impact to services going forward is difficult to predict at this stage. Residents should be aware that lower-income and higher-density areas are being prioritised due to increased risks of the disease spreading quickly in these areas.

In order to protect staff delivering this vital service, we will be ensuring that social distancing is practised and providing necessary protective equipment.

In addition, we request that all waste coming from a property where someone has been diagnosed with, or is showing symptoms of the Covid-19 virus, is double-bagged.

Residents are encouraged to submit service requests using the following channels:

Butchery owner arrested for price hiking during Covid-19 outbreak

KwaZulu-Natal economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.KwaZulu-Natal economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
Image: Sunday Times
The owner of Longbury Meat Market in Phoenix, Durban, has been arrested for hiking prices in contravention of the Consumer Protection Act regulations and the Disaster Management Act regulations.

KwaZulu-Natal economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said this arrest was made by senior officials from her department’s consumer protection services who conducted a series of investigations after complaints of price hiking.

She said the owner of Longbury Meat Market was arrested as her department is intensifying the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy towards price gougers who are using the coronavirus outbreak to sell much-needed food and other products at inflated prices.

She said if found guilty, the owner — who admitted hiking prices — will pay a R1m fine or up to 10% of his business’s annual turnover.

“In addition, there is a possibility of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.”Dube-Ncube said there were other cases which the consumer protection services investigated after complaints from consumers.

One is against Checkstar Supermarket in Phoenix where officials found excessive pricing of Savlon antiseptic liquid.

She said this matter has been referred to the police for further criminal investigation.

She said her officials also investigated allegations against Pick n Pay Supermarket in Ballito, Hyper by the Sea in Durban and Pick n Pay in Pietermaritzburg,

Dube-Ncube said there were allegations of excessive pricing on Lucky Star tinned pilchards and hand soap.

“This matter has been referred to the National Consumer Commission and Competition Commission for a non-compliance notice to be issued against the supermarket,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said consumers also lodged complaints against Safair Operations for refusing to issue a refund, but instead handed over vouchers after deducting a R300 cancellation fee.

“It has been explained that consumers should not be penalised in view of the national disaster announced by the president of the republic … Cyril Ramaphosa.

“In order to protect consumers from exploitation during this period of lockdown, the department has engaged the services of the Consumer Goods Scheme Ombudsman,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said the ombudsman has since issued a statement warning retailers and airlines of the consequences of non-compliance with the Consumer Protection Act.

How long before we have a cure and 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes Covid-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the US.his scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes Covid-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the US.
Image: GroundUp/ Image by the US NIAID
A microscopic virus has now forced nearly 30% of the world’s population into lockdown.

Covid-19 is more than a health crisis. It may change our lives forever and nobody knows how long this will last. We are now inhabiting the Corona Era and how we handle this crisis will define all of us forever.This is an emergency, but it does not mean doctors can just hand out drugs willy nilly or send an untested vaccine out into the world.

It normally takes 10 years or more to develop a new vaccine or medication, but in an emergency like the one we have now, this process could be sped up.

Nobody knows exactly how long it will take, but it will most likely be 12 to 18 months. No critical step will be skipped. So we just have to wait and stay rational.We’ve seen the panic buying and heard the desperation about drugs that may or may not work, but now is not the times to be hasty and irresponsible.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online press conference on Wednesday that small, observational and non-randomised studies will not give us the answers we need.

“Using untested medicines without the right evidence could raise false hope, and even do more harm than good and cause a shortage of essential medicines that are needed to treat other diseases.”

That is, unfortunately, already happening.

“We also recognise that there is a desperate need for effective therapeutics. There is currently no treatment that has been proven to be effective against Covid-19,” he added

He may or may not have been referring to US President Donald Trump, who announced that hydroxychloroquine is some sort of miracle treatment.

This kind of information is making things worse. There is no cure and no vaccine yet. Until there is, our best armour is correct information.

Read the full article in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

SA government vs Covid-19: Five must-read stories on fighting the outbreak

Troops will help the police implement the lockdown.Troops will help the police implement the lockdown.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo
The government has been on high alert since the first case of coronavirus three weeks ago. As more citizens test positive, with confirmed cases now at 709, more has been done to prevent further spread of the deadly virus.

Here are five must-read stories on government’s attempts to fight Covid-19:

Quarantine centre

Announcing a 38-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal as the first coronavirus case in SA, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the government had identified a quarantine centre which would house patients diagnosed in the province.

The man had travelled to Italy with 10 other South Africans. Shortly after the diagnosis, the health ministry started contact tracing people who had been in direct contact with the man in an effort to contain the virus.The 122 South Africans formerly based in Wuhan, China, were evacuated and are undergoing quarantine at a Limpopo resort. They all tested negative for the virus, but are under quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Police and the military were deployed to ensure safety at the resort.

Mkhize said the evacuation was the government’s response to requests made by the group to be repatriated from Wuhan. Coronavirus a national disaster, school closures and travel bans

President Ramaphosa announced last week measures taken by government to contain the coronavirus. They included travel bans, closures of many of SA’s ports of entry, such as airports, some ports and border posts.

Schools were also closed in line with the ban on gatherings of people in groups of 100 or more.

Citizens were also discouraged from travelling to high risk countries including the US, China and South Korea.Lockdown

On Monday, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that SA would be under lockdown from midnight on Thursday until midnight on April 16. This means businesses would close and the movement of citizens be limited.

Public servants, including health-care workers, police and members of the military were exempt from the lockdown as they are central in the fight against coronavirus.

Police and the military will be deployed to areas identified as high risk to ensure correct implementation of lockdown rules, said Safety at correctional services

Justice minister Ronald Lamola on Wednesday said offenders and officials in SA’s prisons would be safe as control measures were being taken by government. Lamola was responding to concerns raised by the Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) about the overcrowded prisons.

It said should the offenders or officials get infected due to a lack of protective gear, the country’s prison system would collapse.

“As the country has been placed on lockdown, correctional facilities will function, but certain activities will be suspended and we will continue not accepting visits. Correctional officials render an essential service and they will therefore be expected to be at work,” Lamola said.