Ramaphosa to skip U.N. amid power crisis

STORY: South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa will miss a United Nations General Assembly this week, his spokesman has said, so that he can tackle a national power crisis.

Vincent Magwenya told South African media that Ramaphosa, in the UK on Monday (September 19) for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, had been scheduled to travel to New York, but had decided to cancel.

That's after South Africa's state-owned power utility Eskom moved to "Stage 6" electricity outages on Sunday (September 18).

It's only the third time it has ever taken the measure, which deprives most South Africans of power for at least six hours a day.

Eskom has implemented outages for over a decade - choking economic growth in Africa's most industrialized country.

Amid growing public anger, Ramaphosa pledged new steps to address the crisis in July.

However power cuts have persisted.

Magwenya said Ramaphosa wanted to better understand what had led to a large number of recent breakdowns at Eskom's fleet of ageing coal-fired power plants.

He also wants to know what progress has been made on the interventions he announced in July.