South Africa’s state-owned power utility is already struggling to break down its plant and avoid nationwide blackouts, with another crisis at hand: sabotage.
According to South Africa’s Minister for Public Enterprises, Praveen Gordhan, with the latest incident on Friday, Eskom has deliberately cut wires at its plant and reported increasing theft. As the continent’s most industrialized country, power outages have become a daily occurrence for the past two weeks as the continent’s most industrialized country, for record years of disruptions, disrupted daily life and slowed economic growth.
Ascom, which generates electricity in almost all countries, reported that a cable needed to start and synchronize a unit at the Hendrina coal-fired station was vandalized, said Gordon Cape Town lawmakers, who oversee the utility. A similar incident at another plant and recent power outages caused corruption in the vicinity of the oil supply.
Crime reflects the challenge of protecting South Africa’s infrastructure. Incidents of wire theft have also gone out of control, damaging the state-owned railway system, limiting mining exports and company profits. Tapping pipelines for fuel and oil causes environmental damage.
Presidency Minister Mandali Gungubel said in a statement on Thursday that the government had intervened to strengthen the security of public property, citing an incident where ESCO had to withdraw services because of violence against its employees and theft of equipment.
Eskom has missed its goal of improving the reliability of mainly coal-fired power stations that are at risk of collapse. According to Gordhan, its Generation Asset power availability is only 58%, well below its 75% target.
The situation is exacerbated by rising demand for electricity in South Africa during the winters of June, July and August.
He has lodged a complaint with the police in another incident of sabotage at Tutuka power station. A statement on Thursday said that since March 2021, there have been five such cases. The latest incident took place despite efforts to increase security.
In the past the utility has reported significant incidents of vandalism in 2018 as employees protested wage negotiations. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also said that the power outage in 2019 was due to intentional acts.
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