Eskom. It’s divided South Africans into those with electricity and those without. It’s divided government ministers on the best way forward. And now, it seems it’s even dividing current ministers about whether it has enough power or not. While the country sits in Stage 4 for the rest of the weekend, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is not convinced that Eskom does not have enough power to avoid load shedding.
They have enough! Gwede Mantashe has his say on Eskom blackouts
Speaking to eNCA on Friday, Mantashe went on a rant about how Eskom should be using more of its reserve capacity. According to Mantashe, Eskom has access to about 6 000MWs of extra reserve capacity that it could be using to avoid load shedding.
“The shortfall of 15 000 MWs is on the suboptimum operation of Eskom. With a supplementary program to boost generation, Eskom can also be optimised. They can have it [the 6 000 MWs extra]. They have 15 000 that is idol. There is a lot of energy that is connected but is not used for one reason or another. “Gwede Mantashe
So from the sounds of things, Mantashe is shining the spotlight right back on Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter and his management team. The problem with that? President Cyril Ramaphosa has come out in full defence of the current Eskom management several times over the last few months.
Eskom says that its currently implementing load shedding, in order to save the current diesel stocks. The price of diesel is now at record highs around the world.
So is Gwede Mantashe making Eskom’s life even more difficult? Or is he just trying to protect his government?
A WEEK OF SABOTAGE AT ESKOM
Eskom confirmed two acts of sabotage at the Tutuka Power Station near Standerton, Mpumalanga this week.
Eskom said a cable was severed at Tutuka Power Station while the station was finalising preparations to return Unit 5 to service.
“The damage to the cable had the effect of delaying the unit’s return to service by three days as it took some time to locate the fault,” said the national power supplier.
Once the cable was located it was quickly repaired. A few hours later, a station control air pressure drop was detected.
“It was later discovered that the control air pipe supplying the Turbine systems had been cut with a power tool and the entire bend removed.”
Eskom has laid criminal charges and insists that the incidents were sabotaged by people who had access to the station. The power utility’s forensic team is assisting police with their investigation.