Representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at Tutuka power station have claimed that President Cyril Ramaphosa was misled into misinforming that nation about sabotage.
Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said sabotage at the station had caused a loss of 2,000MW from the grid and worsened the load shedding crisis.
However, the NUM representatives told eNCA on Thursday that they were not aware of the alleged sabotage.
‘There is no such thing’
Bizzah Motubatse, NUM’s Highveld regional deputy chairperson, said, “We’re very disappointed as the NUM that the President was misled in relation with the alleged sabotage. There is no such thing.
“There is nobody who has sabotaged the boilers; there is nobody who has sabotaged the station.
“So, what the President said yesterday is nothing but misinformation that was given to him, hence he ended up misleading the country. And we sympathise with the President, to be honest, because he was misled.”
He added that each boiler at the station produces around 600MW of electricity. This means that for 2,000MW to be lost, at least three boilers would have had to be sabotaged, which didn’t make sense, he explained.
Independent power producers
Another representative said, “As an employee of Tutuka power station, we are not aware of any sabotage that has been reported by the President, and [the] management has never communicated to us [about] any sabotage.”
They further claimed that the load shedding crisis is being used as an excuse to advance the case for independent power producers (IPPs), “which are worse than state capture.”
Motubatse said, “We think that the government is not being honest to our people in this country because currently, we’ve got three power stations [whose] units have been shut down.
“You speak about Hendrina, Komati, Grootvlei – if ever those units can be brought back to the grid, we would not be having load shedding.”
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa said Eskom had requested the government to source 5,000MW of additional capacity in the short term to allow it to conduct much-needed maintenance at its power units.
He added that Cabinet will on Friday consider various options, including self-generation and procuring floating generators.
To watch the interview with NUM representatives, click here.