Civilians are being warned not to direct traffic during power cuts.
This as the country has been plunged into darkness as a result of rolling blackouts that have now reached stage six.
Power utility Eskom this week ramped up load shedding to stage six, and now says it will be switching between different stages throughout the week.
With load shedding comes traffic lights outages, and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Xolani Fihla says that only traffic officers are allowed to direct traffic.
“It is illegal for any untrained or unauthorised person to be controlling and directing traffic. The challenge with that is having an unauthorised person doing that, is that if an accident can happen within that intersection, then unfortunately the city won’t be liable for that accident and it will be a problem for the motorists. In the city of Johannesburg, we do have a working agreement with Traffic Free Flow, they are of great assistance when it comes to controlling and diverting traffic.”
Traffic safety concerns during rolling blackouts
Eskom to implement Stage 6 rolling blackouts from Monday afternoon
Eskom says Stage 6 rolling blackouts will be implemented from 16:00 on Monday afternoon, with varying stages of power cuts during the week.
Stage 4 is currently being implemented until midnight.
Eskom has been implementing power cuts due to further losses in generation capacity amid the ongoing impact of labour unrest and maintenance backlogs.
Wage negotiation between Eskom and unions tense: Livhwani Mammburu
The power utility has offered a 7% wage increase across the board, which unions are now taking to its members.
“Stage 4 is currently being implemented until midnight. Stage 2 load shedding will then be implemented until 05:00 on Monday morning. Stage 4 load shedding will be implemented from 05:00 until 16:00. From 16:00 until 22:00 Stage 6 load shedding will be implemented before it is lowered to Stage 4 until midnight,” says Eskom’s Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.
Energy expert Professor Mark Swilling says the strike action by several Eskom employees has revealed the extent of vulnerability at the power utility.
“Striking and bringing production to an end, in this case, has massive consequences for the whole country and I think one of the reasons why they are being forced to call their workers back to work to reach some kind of settlement is not just due to more favourable offers on the table but also the negative reaction from the SA public saying how dare you to make things worse? So that is the situation we are having now because we also need to understand that it is not the strike that caused this, what the strike has done is revealed how vulnerable we are.”
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