Between 10am and 2pm on Thursday, load shedding will be suspended “in order to allow the nation to mourn the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini”, Eskom announced late on Wednesday,
This comes after the power utility announced earlier on Wednesday that the country was moving back to stage 2 load shedding, after roughly 13 hours of stage 1.
“In order to allow the nation to participate in the memorial service of his Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, Eskom has decided to suspend the implementation of load shedding between 10am and 2pm tomorrow [Thursday].
“This extraordinary measure has been implemented to allow the nation to witness a key and significant historical event at this difficult time in the life of the Zulu nation. Afterwards, load shedding will then be implemented and continue as previously communicated.
“The power system remains constrained and vulnerable, and as such, Eskom requests the public to continue reducing the usage of electricity in order to minimise the pressure on the system,” the power utility said.
Eskom had earlier cited a “loss of generation capacity” and an increase in demand behind the return to stage 2.
“This escalation in the stage of load shedding is required to safeguard the power system after a further loss of generating capacity at the Medupi, Arnot, Duvha and Kendal power stations.”
On Tuesday, Eskom announced that load shedding would be downgraded to stage 1 from Wednesday 5am, and would continue until 5am on Saturday.
The country had been on stage 2 load shedding since last Wednesday, with an update this past Sunday saying stage 2 load shedding would continue until 5am on Wednesday, 17 March.
Dignitaries, including the President, have started arriving at KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, for the memorial service of the late AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
The 72-year old Zulu monarch was laid to rest in a ceremony called ukutshalwa in the early hours of this morning.
In Zulu culture, the term ukutshalwa refers to the belief that a King never dies but that he is planted.
The king passed on from COVID-19 complications last week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the memorial service.
People are urged to watch the ceremony using these media and not to visit Nongoma because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that the police have been deployed to oversee the memorial ceremony and to ensure that COVID-19 regulations are followed.
He has been hailed for reviving Zulu culture, strong traditional leadership and leading the call for many social challenges like the fight against HIV/Aids.