Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says he cannot ruled out the possibility that the national electricity system is being sabotaged. Gordhan says Eskom has come up with a plan which will be updated weekly between now and the end of January with regard to making efforts to keep lights on.
Gordhan was briefing the media at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg on its current operational challenges Eskom is facing.
Gordhan says, “We’re not sure yet whether there’s an element of undermining of the power system as well. Let’s call it sabotage. You saw bits of it during the labour dispute that we had around June/July. A water pump would be shut down or another pipe would be shut down or ash wouldn’t be removed, diesel couldn’t reach the plant or the coal trucks couldn’t get in. There will be a very intensive look over the next 10 days. That’s part of the action plan, to understand exactly what the nature of the problems are; which ones are easily fixable; which ones will take some time to fix and how do we arrange all of that in a proper way.”
Earlier, Eskom announced that it would implement Stage 2 loadshedding from 9 o’clock on Thursday morning to 10 o’clock Thursday night. The power utility says this due to a shortage of capacity on the national grid.
It says rotational loadshedding will continue in the country until March 2019.
Gordhan says, “That plan must state very clearly who is taking responsibility for what, within what kind of timeframe and what’s expected in terms of the result. For example, of assessing the key parts of a power station and where the weaknesses of those parts might actually be.”
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says government fully supports Eskom’s board’s turnaround strategy. He, however, says Eskom cannot keep borrowing and all stakeholders need to pull together.
Gordhan says there’s no government decision to privatise the power utility. He says Eskom which has a R400 billion debt, should improve the way it communicates with the public.
“If Eskom is only making a thousand rands a month and it has to spend R15 00 a month, there is a difference of R500 between the two and where do we get the difference from. So, let’s have a debate and how to solve the problem in a way that everyone benefits. And the last thing we want is, have the kind of scale of retrenchments that some of you might actually have been entertaining, and might have been mentioned in the past.”