An alleged saboteur blamed for causing the loss of 2,000MW of electricity from Eskom’s supply this week has been described as a person ‘with a very good understanding of the operations of a power station’.
Investigations are continuing into who the person might be and what he or she might have done to contribute to Eskom’s worst crisis so far, when a loss of capacity compelled the national energy supplier to institute Stage 6 load-shedding for the first time.
The claim of sabotage was made this week when President Cyril Ramaphosa met Eskom’s management team over the power utility’s deepening crisis.
Ramaphosa himself told a media briefing: ‘Someone in the Eskom system disconnected one of the instruments, which finally led to one of the boilers tripping.’
Businesslive reported that Eskom’s chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer revealed that the alleged saboteur had ‘a very good understanding’ of the workings of a power station.
However, the news report cited Eskom officials as acknowledging that, besides the alleged sabotage and the effects of heavy rainfall, ‘the unreliability and unpredictability of [the power utility’s] ageing and ill-maintained fleet were largely to blame’.
Ramaphosa appeared to reinforce this judgement when he said: ‘We feel they have not acted with the urgency as is required. The maintenance process of the fleet is rather slow and not as deep as it should be.’
Eskom has promised no load-shedding between December 17 and January 13.