Eskom HQ power cut off‚ intimidation across South Africa's operations

14 June 2018 - 11:14 By Timeslive
Eskom's CEO, Phakamani Hadebe
Eskom's CEO, Phakamani Hadebe
Image: Financial Mail. File photo

Sparks are flying at Eskom‚ as protesting workers converge on the electricity utility's headquarters in Johannesburg - which "mysteriously" had its power cut off on Thursday.

Khulu Phasiwe‚ Eskom's spokesperson‚ reported that: "Intimidation and road blockades are rife at most of Eskom's power stations and regional offices this morning‚ a move that might compromise Eskom's ability to keep the lights on.

"Meanwhile‚ power supply has just been 'mysteriously' cut off at Eskom head office Megawatt Park."

Eskom said on Wednesday that it cannot guarantee security of electricity supply‚ as workers embark on illegal industrial action and plan lunchtime pickets this week.  

Trade unions NUM and Numsa are staging protest action against the cash-strapped company's decision to impose a wage freeze on workers as it tries to balance its finances.

Wage negotiations with unions deadlocked last week leading to the unions declaring disputes. The unions are demanding wage hikes of between 9% and 15%‚ but Eskom offered 0% citing financial constraints. 

Eskom ran out of cash late in 2017 after lenders turned off the taps due to state capture and corruption allegations. The company has a huge debt burden of R350-billion‚ increasing by about R70-billion a year.

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