The ruling African National Congress (ANC)'s secretary general, Fikile Mbalula, said that South Africa could "become a failed state" due to load-shedding.

"This load-shedding has just made a mess of our country," Mbalula told BBC during a TV show, HARDtalk on Tuesday. "If certain things are not resolved, we will become a failed state, but we are not journeying toward that direction."

Mbalula, who previously served as a transport minister from 2019 to 2023, explained that like any other country, South Africa is also going through several challenges. However, he shared that putting South Africa into a "failed state" category would be an exaggeration.

He went on to share the challenges faced by the country, noting that global economics, COVID-19 and Ukraine-Russia ongoing conflict are making an impact on South Africa's economy. Although he admitted that there are partly "some of our own weaknesses in terms of managing the economy well."

Mbalula noted how the ANC party helped to protect South Africans from the worst, noting there were "300 years of deprivation and a mismanaged country and economy" before they came into power in 1994.

The former minister shared that the ongoing electricity crisis in the country is the government's "Achilles heel." He noted that the load-shedding is costing South Africa at least 2% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

"We can't afford that," he said. "It will affect the fortunes of the ANC to receive just an outright majority... if it is not dealt with decisively."

South Africa's electricity company, Eskom has $26 billion in debt while the power stations aren't working properly.

White Paper on the Energy Policy released in December 1998, clearly stated that "Eskom's present generation capacity surplus will be fully utilized by about 2007" and "Timely steps will have to be taken to ensure that demand does not exceed available supply capacity and that appropriate strategies, including those with long lead times, are implemented in time."

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola referred to this paper in March and noted that the government failed to implement the necessary strategies due to which the country is suffering.

"There are human rights violations taking place as a result of the failure to mitigate against this crisis and the courts have a duty to assist us in holding the government to account," the spokesperson added.

Hlubi-Majola also explained the life-threatening situations arising due to load-shedding, sharing that "patients are dying" in the hospitals because of the electricity crisis.

Eskom, on the other hand, forecast a difficult winter for South Africans. According to multiple reports, the country could face Stage 8 of load-shedding. At this point, the country is facing Stage 4 and Stage 5 load-shedding.

South Africa's Eskom to reduce power cuts but long-term outlook bleak