Basic Education Calls For Meeting With Eskom Amid Matric Exams

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South Africa’s power utility Eskom has a difficult month. It seemed as if everyday they would release a statement announcing the loss of additional generation capacity.


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South Africa’s power utility, Eskom has had a difficult month. It seemed as if everyday they would release a statement announcing the loss of additional generation capacity.

The latest communication from Eskom informed South Africans that load shedding will be suspended at 05:00 am on Friday morning. There is however no guarantee that load shedding will not return in the near future, with Eskom saying they will update the public should there be any significant changes to the country's power system.

One group of the population who have been heavily impacted by the power cuts have been South Africa’s Grade 12 class of 2021. Not only have they had less time in the classroom due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, they are having to write their final school examinations and study without electricity.

Basic Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga says he has been engaging with matric students and found that while nothing has disrupted examinations, the ability of students to prepare for those examinations has been disrupted.

He says the department will be discussing the current challenges faced by matriculants with the relevant departments and with Eskom’s management.

Mhlanga said, “[We] will be conveying the concerns that our learners are raising with us as well as the chief invigilators who are school principals in the different examination centers around the country who are saying that the camps that they've organised are not going as smoothly as they would like to because in the evenings, which are the times that they use for additional learning, there's no electricity”.

He says that it is not only the students who are facing anxiety due to the rolling power cuts, as the invigilators and people responsible for the transportation of the examination papers also face anxiety. He explains that delays will occur due to traffic lights not working and traffic which could cause papers not to begin on time.

“In the country there should be a certain time when load shedding shouldn't happen, ideally there shouldn't be any load shedding but we also need to consider the plight of our learners who are currently stressed so we have prepared their side of proposals of course which are going to table to them [Eskom]” concluded Mhlanga.

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