Police investigating possible load shedding sabotage: report

The police’s crime intelligence unit is investigating whether the latest round of load shedding is due to sabotage caused by Eskom employees.

A number of senior sources in crime intelligence reportedly told News24 that the project is focusing on whether the outages are deliberate and the work of aggrieved workers, and whether the issue could worsen around the national elections as workers try to leverage these positions.

A number of highly placed government sources also indicated that there seems to be a concerted effort by some inside Eskom to resist efforts to restructure and reform the embattled power utility.

This resistance is coming from the remnants of former president Jacob Zuma’s state capture network who have centralised control, the sources said.

Union opposition

The plan to cut jobs has also been met with steep opposition by unions who have indicated that its members will down tools as it continues to face an impasse with Eskom.

In a statement on Tuesday (12 March), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said that it was concerned about the potential unbundling of the power utility into three separate entities.

“The shop stewards are very angry towards the attitude so far demonstrated by the leadership in government, led by the African National Congress (ANC), who are talking in tongues about the future of workers at Eskom,”it said.

“They are unable to explain properly what the unbundling means to thousands of poor workers.”

NUM said that there had also been no guarantee to prevent retrenchments during the unbundling process.

In light of this NUM has stated that:

  • Thousands of NUM Eskom members will march to the ANC’s Luthuli House on 30 March 2019;
  • All Eskom board members – led by Jabu Mabuza – should resign with immediate effect;
  • There should be an immediate cancellation of the IPPs and PPA contracts.

In addition to this march, NUM said its workers would be downing tools in the run-up to the national elections in May.

“A total shutdown will be organised as from 3 of May 2019 up to the week leading up to the national general elections on 8th of May 2019,” NUM said.

Read: Eskom is preparing for stage 5 and 6 load shedding – this is how it will affect you

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Police investigating possible load shedding sabotage: report