A man holds a large candle at the entrance to Eskom's Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. File picture: Chris Collingridge
JOHANNESBURG - Eskom has assured Parliament there will be no load-shedding and its application for a confined tender to procure emergency coal has been approved by the National Treasury.

Eskom this week admitted that seven of its power stations were experiencing low levels of coal stockpiles. These include Hendrina, Komati, Majuba, Kriel, Arnot and Camden. As a result of the coal coal shortages, Eskom was diverting coal from other power stations to the under-serviced power stations. 

Acting group executive for transmission Willie Majola said the application for confined coal procurement had taken longer than Eskom wanted, but Treasury had given the green light and the tenders had undergone Eskom processes.

“Some of those contracts have started delivery, but some have to sort out black economic empowerment certificates,” said Majola. He did not name the companies that would supply coal. 

Coal was now moved around the power stations so that it would be at the right levels. Majola said Eskom would move coal in Mpumalanga with more trucks on the road.
He said the power utility had found itself  with capex constraints because it had prioritised the build programmes in Medupi and Kusile.

“And because of the capex constraints, we did not invest enough on the cost plus mines. The situation is made worse by Tegeta Exploration and Resources because it is going into business rescue and it is supplying three stations,” said Majola.

“Realising the situation of the cost-plus mines we approached National Treasury for a confined procurement,” he said.

Majola said Tegeta was supplying Hendrina, Komati and Majuba. 

Eskom also revealed that Tegeta was given a prepayment of R7 million last September, but the coal was not delivered. This was meant to be 37 kilo tons for the Hendrina power station. Eskom said it was taking action against employees involved.

Majola said the Tegeta prepayment was discovered recently.

“They were paid R7m for coal that was not delivered. The payment that was done was not in line with Eskom policy and suspensions have taken place. There is forensic investigation,” said Majola. 

Despite repeated calls for assurances from MPs, the power utility said there was no need to press panic buttons and there would be sufficient coal supply for winter.

Group Executive for Generation Thava Govender said it would be disingenious of him to say there would be no load-shedding.

However, load-shedding was caused by various factors.

“What I can give comfort to members of Parliament is that we don’t have load-shedding. Some of the comfort I can give to members is that in winter you don’t have load-shedding. I can give assurance that every person employed at Eskom will ensure we don’t get to that stage (of load-shedding),” said Govender.