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South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa cancels Davos trip

South African President and leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his political report during the 55th ANC meeting   -  
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South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has scrapped plans to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos because of the energy crisis affecting the country, his spokesman said on Sunday.

South Africa is experiencing record blackouts due to troubles at state-owned power utility Eskom over the past 12 months.

Ramaphosa was due to lead a government delegation to the WEF event in the Swiss Alps next week but will instead remain home to hold talks with Eskom and political leaders, said presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya.

"Due to the ongoing energy crisis, President @CyrilRamaphosa has cancelled his working visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos," Magwenya wrote on Twitter.

"Currently the President is convening a meeting with leaders of political parties represented in parliament, NECCOM (National Energy Crisis Committee) and the Eskom board."

Scheduled blackouts have burdened South Africa for years, with Eskom failing to keep pace with demand and maintain its ageing coal power infrastructure.

But the outages have reached new extremes over the past 12 months, with the firm blaming sabotage and crime.

This week, it said it would implement blackouts of up to nearly 12 hours a day until further notice after a string of generators broke down.

The outages have cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars in lost output, disrupting commerce and industry and angering the population.

On Saturday, the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, called on South Africans to join a protest march to "voice their anger" at the situation.

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