New Electricity Minister in South Africa Says Loadshedding is Not Caused by Corruption

  • Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Kgosientso ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa, is on a media roadshow visiting all 15 Eskom power stations.
  • Yesterday he said that loadshedding is not caused by corruption and workers at Eskom are the ones who will resolve load shedding.

Ramokgopa on Wednesday visited Tutuka Power Station in Mpumalanga to get first-hand experience and understand the challenges workers face as part of a series of visits to all of Eskom’s coal fired power stations.

Considering that Treasury now effectively is in control of Eskom after a R254 billion bailout and has commissioned a group of German consultants to assess Eskom’s operational performance and what needs to be done, one begins to wonder what is Sputla’s role as Electricity Minister? Link to the government and his personal twitter buzz here and here respectively.

He has come up with some real woppa’s as he goes about his tour of all 15 power stations which Eskom staff appear to be sucking up with much admiration. Yesterday he said that corruption is not a key issue affecting the performance of some of Eskom’s power plants and Eskom employee’s know the solutions to the problem (loadshedding). “Technical and investment issues, and not corruption, adversely affecting the performance of the utility’s fleet,” he said. ‘Knowing the problems at hand will help in the crafting of solutions to deal with load shedding,” he added.

Related news: Eskom will fail to meet its boosted generation targets

“I am here as the Minister of Electricity. The Minister of Electricity will not resolve the problems of load shedding. Load shedding will be resolved by the workers of Eskom. As long the workers are happy… and have the necessary tools of trade… and are given the opportunity, and for as long as we are able to address the workers’ grievances, we have no doubt the workers will help us to resolve this problem,” he said.

Ramokgopa assured Eskom employees that he will help to create a conducive and supportive environment for workers.

“I am with you. I am on your side. We have agreed with management and organised labour that I am coming back. There is a lot that organised labour wants to discuss with me. There is a lot that still needs to be done,” Ramokgopa said.

Related news: South African President deploys the military at some coal power stations

Ramokgopa’s Tutuka Power Station visit is the third day of a two-week programme of planned visits to Eskom power stations around the country. In total, the Minister will visit 14 power stations.

Tutuka has six 609MW units, with a total installed capacity of 3 654MW, with a turbine Maximum Continuous Rating of only 38%.

The station is an important link in the 765kV extra-high-voltage transmission system linking Mpumalanga with the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

According to Ramokgopa, Tutuka and Kusile in Mpumalanga are the two worst performing power stations.

Government is committed to improving capacity at the power stations in order to increase the availability of electricity in the country.

Among the problems identified at Tukuka was the low morale of staff because they were told that the plant will be closed in 2030, the quality of coal and technical-related problems.

At each station the Minister visits, he first gets a briefing from the management team and thereafter conducts a walkabout.

During the walkabouts, the Minister interacts with employees.

Today the Minister will visit the Lethabo Power Station in the Free State.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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