A shopper looks for goods during an electricity load-shedding blackout in Johannesburg

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said that the team has been working around the clock to ensure the units that are affected by boiler tube leaks are returned to the power grid.

Ramokgopa's statement came after South Africa experienced Stage 6 of load shedding.

The minister said on Sunday that the 4,400 megawatts were taken off the grid last week. Lethabo, Matimba, Duvha, Majuba, Camden, Grootvlei, Kriel and Medupi power station units were contributing to 4,400 megawatts.

"Eskom management has taken a decision, having identified boiler tube leaks as a major area of concern that undermines the availability of these units, to work directly with the original equipment manufacturers, so that they do not go through the middleman," he said, SA News reported.

"They are engaging with the people who had designed these units. The people who know the DNA of these units are the ones who are assigned the responsibility to deal with this," he added.

The minister shared that the experts will be able to do a proper root cause analysis, diagnose and then provide a prognosis, ensuring that the units are returned quickly and safely.

According to Ramokgopa, the planned maintenance is about 7,000 megawatts.

"If it means we ramp up load shedding for the purposes of conducting planned maintenance... we will be able to return the units healthier... for the long-term gain," he added.

The minister noted that two units - Lethabo 5 and Kriel 2 - have returned while the team is working to get the Medupi unit back online. Whereas, Matimba 2, Kendal 3 and 4 are expected to return on Sunday.

"As part of planned maintenance, a significant portion of units will come back towards the beginning and end of March, where we will be moving from 7,000MW to lower levels of between 5,000MW and 6,000MW, where you are going to see significantly improved intensity of load shedding," Ramokgopa said.

He said that South Africans can expect a significant improvement in load shedding by next month as the team understands the cause of power failure and working towards fixing the issues.

Additionally, he assured South Africans that if any other issue comes up, then the board and the executive will look into it.

Eskom, responsible for supplying electricity throughout the country, announced on Sunday that load shedding 6 will be implemented from 12:00 p.m. until further notice.