Sabotage is adding one level of load-shedding, André de Ruyter says
De Ruyter says sabotage is difficult to detect, prevent and prosecute
Sabotage of Eskom equipment and coal syndicates are among the criminal activities contributing to one stage of load-shedding.
This was disclosed by the beleaguered power utility’s CEO André de Ruyter in an interview with SAfm host Stephen Grootes.
“I would say on average there is a stage or two of load-shedding that can be attributed to these criminal activities,” he said.
He said the issue of sabotage was serious and they had had an incident at the Lethabo power station where an unknown person cut through a conveyor belt that fed coal into the boilers. That had led to significant disruption.
He said at some stations, they experienced mysterious failures and oil leakages.
De Ruyter said at the Camden power station, when they apprehended a suspect, they found the motive for the sabotage that led to the breaking down of equipment was to secure more work from Eskom.
“This is a pattern. We found it at other power stations as well. At Tutuka, for example, people deliberately break equipment because that results in a maintenance callout, which puts money into the pockets of the maintenance contractors,” he said.
“Of course, there are other factors in place where no doubt [these criminals] want to exacerbate load-shedding, and we suspect to put more pressure on players including myself and the management teams,” he said.
De Ruyter said there were many motives for sabotage but it was difficult to detect, prevent and prosecute.
“I think at certain levels these things are connected by the motive. There are networks that operate within Eskom that have, over the years, established themselves. Through all these criminal acts, they are essentially stealing a huge amount of money from the organisation.”
De Ruyter said they had been disrupting the networks and arresting suspects, and had implemented enhanced controls, including physical security and surveillance.
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