President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Leon Nicholas.

Eskom's three new power stations would create almost 40,000 job opportunities, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

A total of 35,000 jobs would relate to construction and operations, while another 4500 would be indirect jobs supporting the programme, he said at the launch of the boiler pressure test of the first unit of the Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Limpopo.

The power stations concerned are Kusile in Mpumalanga, Ingula in Kwazulu-Natal and Medupi.

Kusile, near Delmas, was expected to cost R121 billion.

“The project is more than 17-percent complete with R39 billion having been spent. The project has an estimated 25 percent impact on Delmas town’s GDP,” Zuma said.

Ingula in Ladysmith would cost in the region of R23 billion.

“The project is more than 42 percent complete, with 11 billion rand having been spent. It is expected to have a seven percent impact on Ladysmith’s local GDP,” Zuma said.

Medupi would be the fourth-largest coal plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world.

Its first 800 Megawatt unit is expected to be commissioned in early 2012, with the next units following at nine-month intervals.

Zuma said the power station would have a planned operational life of 50 years.

“Once all its six units are completed, Medupi will be able generate enough electricity to power almost the whole of Gauteng.”

Medupi will have a significant impact on Lephalale. “Eskom currently has approximately 17 000 people working on the Medupi construction site. More than 40 percent are from the local area.” - Sapa