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2022-12-18 at 16:26 #386301Nat QuinnKeymaster
Eskom has confirmed that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deployed to certain power stations.
“Eskom can confirm that the SANDF is being deployed. Eskom has received deployments at four sites,” said Eskom in a statement.
The four power stations currently benefitting from this SANDF deployment are Majuba, Camden, Grootvlei, and Tutuka.
Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya told eNCA that deploying soldiers at power stations is a great step forward in protecting power stations against criminal elements.
“There has been a concerted effort to collaborate across the security cluster to look at Eskom and root out the rotten eggs,” said Magwenya.
He highlighted the conditions that Eskom power station managers are currently working under.
“We have power station managers wearing bulletproof vests at work. Their children are being escorted by security. Their wives are being escorted by security to where they work,” said Magwenya.
“It’s an unhealthy situation, and those are dedicated South Africans committed to helping us come out of this energy crisis.”
Vincent Magwenya, Presidential spokesperson
Sabotage at Eskom power station
Sabotage is a major challenge for Eskom and has affected several power stations.
Last month, a maintenance contract worker at Camden Power Station was arrested after being linked to an incident of sabotage.
This worker reportedly intentionally removed a bearing oil drain plug, causing repeated tripping of one of the generating unit’s oil burners.
In May 2022, Eskom confirmed reports that suspected sabotage was behind the delay in returning a unit to service at Tutuka Power Station.
This was the fifth incidence of sabotage at Tutuka since March 2021.
Other incidences of suspected sabotage at Eskom power stations include:
Medupi’s unit 4 generator explosion in August 2021, where procedural failure caused the generator to blow up and tripped another. It requires around R2.5 billion to fix;
An incident at the Matimba power station where someone allegedly dropped an extension cord onto a transformer, putting three units out of action;
Sabotage of power pylons supplying Lethabo’s coal conveyor belt; and
An incident where a technician closed the wrong valve at the Koeberg power station.
Eskom fights back
The deployment of the SANDF at four power stations will add to the existing measures Eskom has taken to protect its power stations.
In October, City Press reported that Eskom had established a team to probe suspected sabotage at power stations.
This team includes Eskom’s own investigators, a special police investigation unit, and operators from the state security agency.
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