This is how many hospitals SA Gov wants to make loadshedding-free

  • 35 hospitals across South Africa have recently been excluded from Eskom’s rotational power cuts, bringing the total to 72.
  • The government says it’s targeting a total of 212 priority health facilities to make loadshedding free in the future.
  • 28 more health facilities can become exempt from loadshedding but at the cost of an estimated R100 million.

The government of South Africa has announced that it has made new inroads in its plans to take some of the loadshedding pressure off “priority” hospitals across the country.

As of the time of writing, South Africans are battling with Stage 3 loadshedding as the country’s energy utility suffers more breakdowns at its ailing power stations. The rolling blackouts are being implemented “for further notice” meaning that some regions of the country will be without power six hours of the day.

The ceaseless outages continue to be a bane in the developing country, apart from crippling South Africa’s economy they also put a strain on the country’s overstaffed and underfunded hospitals.

Clearly, the government is well aware of this as it is seemingly making progress on its plans to exclude certain hospitals from loadshedding.

According to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, the number of loadshedding-free hospitals has increased from 37 to 72 since the minister’s last public announcement.

In a press statement, the Department of Health said that it has identified 212 priority hospitals across the country’s nine provinces that it wishes to put on the exclusion list, provided to Eskom.

67 percent of these hospitals are supplied directly by municipalities, while Eskom supplies the remaining 33 percent. Some hospitals are deeply embedded within their regional networks, making it more difficult for isolation from the grid.

However, government is investigating possible load curtailment measures for larger hospitals. This means asking the hospitals to lower their power consumption, at least for a few hours at a time.

More efforts are apparently being made to urgently provide exemptions for health facilities in the Northern Cape and North West provinces.

The North West has no exempt hospitals, but the government says that a team led by Director General of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi and Eskom group executive for distribution, Mr Monde Bala is working with authorities in the province for short-to-medium term solutions to remove some of the loadshedding pressure.

Hospitals that could take advantage of these urgent solutions include New Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital, Bophelong Hospital, Taung Hospital, Ganyesa Hospital, and Moses Kotane Hospital.

The Tshwaragano Hospital in the Northern Cape is also being looked at for these solutions.

Of the 72 loadshedding-free hospitals, most are located in Gauteng with 17, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (15), the Free State (14), Limpopo (10), the Eastern Cape (7), then Mpumalanga and the Western Cape (4), and finally the Northern Cape (1).

A preliminary network analysis has shown that 28 more hospitals in various provinces can be excluded from loadshedding by building new infrastructure valued at an estimated R100 million.

Exemption from loadshedding will surely ease the enormous amounts of money some hospitals are spending to maintain operations during outages. In July it was found that Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto spent R3.4 million on diesel for its generations in less than seven months.

[Image – Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels]


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