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Gigaba inspects new Eskom plant

Malusi Gigaba the Home Affairs Deputy Minister, brief media on successes in stoping undesirable people coming into South Africa during World Cup. 150610 Picture: Sarah Makoe

Malusi Gigaba the Home Affairs Deputy Minister, brief media on successes in stoping undesirable people coming into South Africa during World Cup. 150610 Picture: Sarah Makoe

Published Apr 11, 2013

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Lephalale - Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba inspected the construction site of the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, on Thursday.

Flanked by senior officials in his department, he asked questions on the progress of construction of the project scheduled to deliver electricity from the end of 2013.

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“The purpose of the visit is to supervise and monitor the progress we are making at the plant,” Gigaba told journalists on site.

“What you see here is the work that takes place before you get the power.”

While walking, Gigaba and his team pointed out structures that were not erected on their last inspection.

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Eskom CEO Brian Dames led the tour.

Dames pointed out the six different generating units, the boilers, that would generate 800MW of electricity each.

Boiler six was scheduled to deliver electricity to the grid by the end of 2013.

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Construction workers gathered to try and take a picture of Gigaba.

An engineer on site explained that construction on the boiler needed to be completed by June so that pressure tests could be done by July.

News crews later joined the ministerial team and were taken around in small buses each with an Eskom employee to explain how the site would work and the functions of the main areas.

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They pointed out the energy grid that powered the construction area as well as boiler six.

Photographers were allowed to take pictures and video crews were allowed to film during the site tour.

Media heard that all the materials needed for the construction had been delivered and were on site.

All fabrication and welding takes place on site.

Construction at the site has been hampered by workers downing tools.

In January, Eskom temporarily closed the power station when contract workers went on strike.

Construction of the coal-fired power plant, set to be commissioned in 2015, was also interrupted when workers downed tools last September.

Also, faults in factory welds had been discovered, arising from inadequate post-weld heat treatment.

Hitachi Power Africa, which is part-owned by the African National Congress's investment arm Chancellor House, is providing the boilers for the power station.

Last month, Gigaba said the December 2013 deadline for the station to start delivering power would not change.

“Clearly, Eskom must exercise a more active role in the management of these projects, and ensuring that they constantly mediate the dispute between the workers and employers,” he said.

Once completed, Medupi will be the largest dry-cooled, coal-fired power station in the world. - Sapa

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