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Police say they do not make arrests based on media reports as Eskom exec accused of sabotage

An Eskom logo is seen at the entrance of their head offices in Sunninghill, Sandton. File Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

An Eskom logo is seen at the entrance of their head offices in Sunninghill, Sandton. File Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Published Jun 7, 2023


Pretoria - The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Wednesday said it would not be dictated to regarding the pace of the investigation regarding the alleged involvement of an Eskom executive in acts of sabotage at the beleaguered power utility.

Widespread media reports said an Eskom executive was central to staging and carrying out breakdowns at targeted power stations.

The breakdowns ultimately lead to load shedding.

According to City Press, the Eskom executive, who has top-secret security clearance, is accused of appointing specific engineers to help ensure that breakdowns happen at certain power stations.

The publication reported that the engineers and the Eskom executive profited from the money availed to fix the staged breakdowns.

Eskom head office at Megawatt Park on Maxwell drive Sandton in Johannesburg. File Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

However, when contacted by IOL, SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said their investigation “will follow its own logical conclusion” despite the media hype.

“The SAPS will not arrest anyone based on media reports.

“Our investigation will follow its own logical conclusion, and certainly not on the pace dictated to by the media,” said Mathe.

Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has called for the arrest of the Eskom executive implicated in the acts of sabotage.

“We are calling for the speedy processing of that issue so that those implicated can be arrested. The problems that have come out of the sabotages, which are alleged to have happened, we must be quick to stop that,” Saftu’s national spokesperson Trevor Shaku told SABC News.

“We do not think it would be one person because of the many reports of acts of sabotage in the past. It means there are probably bigger or a couple of works that are operating to sabotage the operation of Eskom and benefit from it.”

Last year, former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said the sabotage of Eskom equipment and coal syndicates were among the criminal activities that were adding to the load-shedding crisis.

He said mysterious failures had been reported during the rolling blackouts.

“The issue is quite pervasive and very serious. We had an incident where an unknown person tried to cut through a conveyor belt that feeds coal into the boilers, which would have led to significant disruption,” De Ruyter said at the time.

“We do have mysterious failures, oil leakages and equipment knocked out. So, this is a serious problem, and it is quite wide-ranging.”

De Ruyter, in another interview, said that the governing party treated Eskom as a feeding trough, and he also said that a certain minister was behind the looting at Eskom.

Build One South Africa movement leader Mmusi Maimane said that claims of sabotage at Eskom were so serious that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) must probe them.