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Ramaphosa Denies Power Grid Failure

FILE: Locals are illuminated by car lights as they walk on the dark streets during frequent power outages from South African utility Eskom, caused by its aging coal-fired plants, at Lawley Township, South Africa July 13, 2022.

JOHANNESBURG - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa denied on Thursday that his government had failed over crippling power cuts, saying already-announced interventions would reduce pressure on the grid.

"We are not sleeping on the job," Ramaphosa told a question-and-answer session with lawmakers.

He expressed a preference for South Africa bringing in emergency energy, citing the example of other countries that had brought in power ships.

Africa's most industrialized economy is experiencing the worst electricity outages on record, meaning many households and businesses are without power for more than 10 hours a day, as state power utility Eskom's ailing fleet of coal power stations repeatedly breaks down.

Experts expect the outages could get worse as South African gets deeper into the southern hemisphere winter, despite repeated pledges by Ramaphosa's government to increase energy availability by fixing faulty coal stations and procuring new generation capacity.

South Africa's rand currency and bonds have been under heavy selling pressure in recent days as investor sentiment has soured badly over the power crisis.