Damage to silos at the Majuba Power Station. Picture: Supplied 021114
Damage to silos at the Majuba Power Station. Picture: Supplied 021114

Eskom hiding behind apartheid law - DA

By Sapa Time of article published Nov 4, 2014

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Johannesburg - Eskom is hiding behind apartheid laws by detaining a journalist who took pictures of the Majuba power station in Mpumalanga, by saying it is a national key point, the DA said on Tuesday.

The Democratic Alliance would ask for Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom management to brief Parliament's public enterprises committee on the country's power crisis, party spokeswoman and MP Phumzile van Damme said in a statement.

“At this meeting I will request a full explanation on why Eskom is using an apartheid law, the National Key Points Act, to, as it would appear, hide Majuba power station from public scrutiny,” Van Damme said.

According to Beeld, security guards at the power station detained and later released Netwerk24 journalist Le Roux Schoeman on Monday for taking photos of a national key point.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said the power utility would only comment on the matter after it had received a report from the security company at the power station.

According to Tuesday's Beeld, a man called Bheki asked Schoeman to get into an Eskom car and took him to an office on the premises. He made a photocopy of Schoeman's press card and wanted to see what was on his camera, claiming the power station was a national key point.

He wanted to call an IT expert to make sure photos and videos had been deleted from the camera. Schoeman asked for legal advice and refused to hand anything to Bheki.

A coal storage silo, which stores over 10 000 tons of coal, collapsed on Saturday afternoon, affecting coal supplies to all six units at the power station.

On Tuesday, trade union Solidarity said the silo had been showing signs of stress since January and Eskom had done nothing to correct the problem.

Etzinger said the silo was inspected last year.

Before the collapse Majuba supplied 3600MW, roughly 10 percent of the country's electricity capacity, Etzinger said on Sunday.

Its capacity was reduced to 1800MW and then to 600MW. According to Eskom this had since been increased to 1200MW.

Eskom warned the collapse could cause rolling blackouts across the country. - Sapa

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