Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says issues related to possible sabotage at Eskom, including matters of fraud, corruption, and security at the power utility, are receiving urgent attention, with police currently investigating at least 1,500 cases.
Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria on Monday, Ramokgopa said since April last year, over 2,000 cases have been reported to the police for investigation as they try to get a grip on the power crisis that is affecting the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans.
Ramokgopa said of the 2,147 cases which had been reported, 1,586 of the cases were still under investigation by the police and this had resulted in over 126 people being arrested.
This includes alleged diesel thieves who were arrested last year after fleecing thousands of litres of fuel from the SoE.
In June, Eskom placed head of security Karen Pillay on precautionary suspension following allegations she was involved in irregularly awarding a R500 million security tender to Fidelity.
Eskom said this was done to finalise the outcome of a probe into allegations made against Pillay in the awarding of a R500m tender to Fidelity Security Services (FSS).
Ramokgopa, who also apologised to South Africans after the country was plunged into Stage 6 load shedding at the weekend said load shedding was unacceptable and Stage 6 blackouts should never become the norm.
Ramokgopa said efforts were being made, working with the police and other agencies, to address issues related to fraud, corruption, security and alleged criminal syndicates which were operating at the utility.
“Over the period from April 2022 to date, there are 2,147 Eskom cases that have been reported to the SAPS and 1,586 of these are under investigation. In addition to the technical solutions that we are seeking to resolve the issues at Eskom, we are also focused on addressing some of the underlying problems which have been issues of fraud, corruption and security,” said Ramokgopa.
He said this involved interactions with officials and staff at Eskom, working with police, doing patrols at power stations and visiting coal yards and local scrap dealers in a bid to understand the nature of the criminal activities.
Ramokgopa said over 15,000 scrap metal dealers had been visited and compliance inspections undertaken.
[WATCH]: Interms of Generation outlook, boiler tube leaks remain the major cause of unplanned outages. pic.twitter.com/2ACQri6vYR— Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa (@Kgosientsho_R) July 17, 2023
Meanwhile, eNCA reported on Monday that Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine in Westonaria was now delivering 50 megawatts of power for its operations after it got licensed approval from the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to build its own solar plant farm with over 120,000 solar panel.
The mining company is also mooting installing solar wind farms as its measure to address the power outages and load shedding.
Gold Fields’ Benford Mokoatle said they were addressing multiple challenges at once and were able to ensure more productivity, save on electricity costs and perform more optimally.