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Ramaphosa Races Home as South African Energy Crisis Deepens

  • South African rand weakens to two-year low against US dollar
  • Electricity utility Eskom sees chance of worst-ever outages
Cyril Ramaphosa, right, at the Palace of Westminster in London, on Sept. 18.

Cyril Ramaphosa, right, at the Palace of Westminster in London, on Sept. 18.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images

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South Africa is teetering on the brink of its most severe power cuts yet, just two months after the government announced emergency measures to try and end intermittent outages, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to cut short an overseas trip to oversee the response to the crisis. 

State power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which provides the bulk of the nation’s electricity, began cutting 6,000 megawatts from the national grid over the weekend -- equivalent to the most on record -- to prevent the collapse of the national grid and its executives warned there was a risk the situation could deteriorate further. The rand weakened to a two-year low against the dollar on Monday, while shares of mining and manufacturing companies slumped.