Andre de Ruyter, the CEO of Eskom, has dropped an almighty bombshell on Friday morning, confirming that the utility suspects a deliberate act of sabotage took place at a plant in Vereeniging – almost sparking Stage 6 load shedding.
Investigations at the Lethabo power station revealed that deliberate damage to Eskom infrastructures, such as felled pylons and severed electricity lines, were present at the site. De Ruyter didn’t sugarcoat the extent of the damage, telling the media during a briefing that the incident almost plunged South Africa into a new realm of darkness.
Stage 6 cuts have only been experienced once before in South Africa, during the ‘wet coal’ saga of December 2019. However, senior management at Eskom believes they have uncovered something much more sinister.
Andre de Ruyter and his colleagues are convinced that people on the inside are involved in a campaign of sabotage against Eskom. Although he didn’t speculate on any political motivations, the CEO clearly believes that Eskom is battling with internal elements – many of whom may be held responsible for South Africa’s extended periods of load shedding.
“There was clear evidence that an electricity pylon had been deliberately cut ahead of the evening peak period on Wednesday. There is proof of a cutting instrument being used – either a hacksaw or an angle grinder.”
“It was also found that some lines that feed electricity to the station’s coal conveyor were cut. Nothing else was stolen, which indicates that this was not an economic crime and it was clearly an act of sabotage. We can call it as such, and it could have led to us needing to implement Stage 6 load shedding.”
“It is difficult to speculate what could be the motive apart from people deeming it fit to destroy Eskom infrastructure. We need to take action, law enforcement has a role to play to bring perpetrators to book. We are beefing up security.”
Andre de Ruyter
JUST IN: Eskom management calls the pylon collapse at Lethabo power station in Vereeniging “deliberate sabotage”, claiming it could’ve caused stage six power cuts. CEO Andre de Ruyter says the Hawks are now investigating. @eNCA @etvNewsSA
— Graeme Raubenheimer (@GraemeRauby) November 19, 2021