President Cyril Ramaphosa says that acts of sabotage in the last week caused massive power losses at a time when Eskom was already struggling with a constrained power grid.
In a media briefing following talks with Eskom and other stakeholders, the president said that the acts directly led to a loss of 2,000MW of power.
While not explicitly stated, this loss of generating capacity would have had a big part in the level of load shedding being pushed from stage 4 to stage 6 in the last few days, or at the very least contributed to load shedding stages being held at stage 4.
“We must investigate the sabotage. I have directed that the acts be investigated and that (Eskom) work with the South African Police Service and our other intelligence services, to find out exactly how anyone within Eskom could have disconnected the instruments that have led to the loss of 2,000 megawatts,” Ramaphosa said.
Sabotage has now emerged as one of the many factors placing strain on Eskom’s grid, with other factors including unscheduled maintenance, wet coal, flooded substations and other equipment failures.
South Africa was pushed to stage 6 load shedding late on Monday evening – a first for the country. Stage 6 load shedding allows for 6,000MW of power to be pulled from the national grid.
The single act of sabotage, removing 2,000MW from generation, is enough to push the load shedding level up 2 stages.