Six Eskom power plants affected by labour action

14 June 2018 - 12:56 By Penwell Dlamini
Demonstrators protest outside Megawatt Park, Sunninghill, June 14, 2018. Eskom workers are demanding a 15% salary increase while Eskom has decided to cut completely any increases for this year, saying they simply do not have the funds.
Demonstrators protest outside Megawatt Park, Sunninghill, June 14, 2018. Eskom workers are demanding a 15% salary increase while Eskom has decided to cut completely any increases for this year, saying they simply do not have the funds.
Image: Greg Roxburgh

Electricity production has been hit by Thursday's protest action against a wage freeze imposed by Eskom management‚ a National Union of Mineworkers official told members. The company confirmed power supply was "constrained due to the effects of industrial action".

Keagile Pholoba‚ a NUM full-time shop steward‚ was briefing thousands of workers who have gathered outside Eskom headquarters at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg about the impact of the protest action‚ particularly in Mpumalanga.

"All units are down at Arnot (coal-fired power station)‚ just one is left. There is no coal on top of that. Hendrina is running on two units. Kendel is running on one unit. (In) the new power station which is Kusile‚ all units are red. Duvha station has only two units. Komati‚ the smallest power station‚ is running with one unit...‚" said Pholoba.

NUM and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA are fuming after Eskom came to the negotiation table with a zero percent wage offer. The unions want a double-digit increase for their members.

Leadership of NUM and Numsa are expected to address the workers later in the day. A memorandum of demands will also be handed to Eskom management.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said in a midday statement that: "The generation and distribution of electricity across Eskom’s network is constrained today due to the acts of sabotage and intimidation that characterise the current industrial action by members of the trade unions."

"There have been several incidents of road blockades‚ attacks on staff‚ and wilful damage of electricity infrastructure.

"As a result‚ all road coal deliveries have been stopped for security reasons. The safety of all our employees is of paramount importance to us during this time."

The power stations that are worst-affected by the industrial action are Hendrina‚ Camden‚ Kendal‚ and Arnot‚ said Phasiwe.

Earlier on Thursday he tweeted images of the protest action at its plants‚ adding: "Meanwhile‚ power supply has just been 'mysteriously' cut off at Eskom head office Megawatt Park."

Residents of the posh suburb of Rivonia as well as Marlboro Gardens complained on social media that they had been without power since about 10am. It is not clear as yet if this is related to the Eskom workers protest‚ as frequent outages have been experienced by customers of City Power in Johannesburg this year.

The entity has previously blamed technical problems on ageing equipment‚ planned maintenance and cable theft for the outages. Overnight and this morning again‚ multiple suburbs in the city were in the dark. 

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