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2022-12-15 at 16:12 #386021Nat QuinnKeymaster
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan had some harsh words for the “termites” within Eskom that continue to undermine the work being done at the power utility for the betterment of the country.
During a media briefing on Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s resignation, Gordhan said law enforcement is cracking down on the corrupt and urged honest workers to take a stand.
“The honest must take the fight to the corrupt,” he said.
“Law enforcement is cracking down on the termites at Eskom and will ensure that they are in orange overalls sooner than in the past.”
The power utility has stepped up its game to tackle sabotage and corruption at its power stations in the last few weeks.
Between 16 and 30 November 2022, Eskom announced the arrest of six individuals, including contractors, coal truck drivers, and security guards, at its power stations.
Three individuals were arrested for swapping coal destined for Eskom power stations, which undergoes pre-tests and has to be certified by both the power utility and the relevant mine, for sub-par coal.
The most recent coal-swapping arrests were of a truck driver and his supervisor at the Matla power station, which Eskom announced on 30 November.
The driver admitted to offloading Eskom’s coal at the Rondebult coal yard and alleged that he had been instructed to do so by his supervisor.
Eskom opened a criminal case against the driver and supervisor — employed by Ukusebenza Transport contracted by Eskom — with the South African Police Service. The truck was impounded.
Just one week earlier, the power utility announced the arrest of a truck driver at the Camden power station for a similar offence.
The truck driver confirmed that he was allowed to leave the Wonderfontein coal mine without the tarpaulins on the truck being sealed with the specified seals. He admitted that the prescribed seals remained in his possession on exit.
He then drove to a known illegal coal yard in Middelburg, where the coal was offloaded and replaced with sub-grade coal. The tarpaulin was then sealed with the prescribed seals.
According to the truck driver, he made the detour to the illegal coal yard under the instruction of employees at the Wonderfontein Coal Mine. He said he was instructed to take the sub-standard coal delivery to the Camden power station.
In both cases, the trucks were spotted leaving the illegal coal yards by Bidvest Protea Coin investigators contracted by Eskom.
On 29 November, the power utility announced the arrest of two security guards contracted by the utility who allegedly facilitated diesel theft at the Port Rex Power Station in East London.
Eskom said the security guards enabled the theft of 5,863 litres of diesel with an approximate value of R145,930.
The power utility announced the arrest of a contractor at Camden for allegedly purposefully sabotaging a generating unit at the power station.
The accused was found to have intentionally removed a bearing oil drain plug, causing one of the generating unit’s oil burners to trip repeatedly.
“This malicious act caused all the oil to drain out from the bearing, thus damaging the bearing which, in turn, prevented the mills from operating optimally,” Eskom said.
“Camden Unit 4 subsequently tripped after losing all the mills.”
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