Ramaphosa vows alleged Eskom saboteurs will face wrath of the law
Cape Town - The "challenges" faced by state power utility Eskom were an impediment to investment, president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday, but government was doing everything possible to ensure sustainable energy sources.
"Obviously, energy plays a key role in the economic life of our country, and when factories and mines have to shut down because they don't have enough energy, it has a negative impact. If this persists, it could lead us to recession," said the president at a media briefing in Johannesburg.
Ramaphosa cut short a state visit to Egypt when the country was plunged into unprecedented stage six loadshedding on Monday. He was widely criticised as displaying a lack of leadership for leaving the country amidst a national crisis. Earlier on Wednesday, he said that the power utility had lost 2000 megawatts due to "sabotage".
"So we are now taking all these actions ... and that is why we have insisted that there must be an emergency recovery plan that is going to make sure that we restore stability to the network. That is going to be done so that we do not have a catastrophic situation that is going to have a negative impact on our energy."
The president said would-be investors had been told that the country was grappling with energy challenges. "We have been pretty upfront, open and honest about the challenges that Eskom faces and efforts that we are putting in place to address that."
He said Eskom was conducting an investigation into the alleged acts of sabotage, and that those found to be responsible would face the law.
“The sabotage came at a time when we had all the problems and just added to the many other problems, but on its own it would have not really sort of sunk the system. But I think it is also important for all of us to note that there are certain people within the system who take it upon themselves to go and switch off certain instruments and that finally led us to losing so many megawatts,”
He said he had urged Eskom management to speed up its investigations.
"Anyone who would go out and disconnect a particular instrument and lead to the loss of 2000 megawatts over a 10 hour period cannot be involved in any other activity other than sabotage”.
Ramaphosa said decisive action would be taken against those who were responsible, and they would be dealt with by the criminal justice system.
“...Decisive action in the end will mean that people who are responsible for this will have to be charged, people will have to face charges, go to court and that obviously has to be dealt with by your criminal justice system, the prosecuting processes. That is a decisive action that obviously needs to be taken in that regard through those institutions that have been set up to do precisely that.”
Economists have raised concerns about the impact of the rotational blackouts on the country’s economic growth, with small businesses taking a severe hit.
African News Agency (ANA)