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New sabotage claims at Eskom’s Tutuka power station

A COALYARD at Tutuka power station, Mpumalanga. l TJ LEMON

A COALYARD at Tutuka power station, Mpumalanga. l TJ LEMON

Published May 19, 2022

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Johannesburg – Cables damaged by unknown suspects were discovered at the Tutuka Power station during the final stages of preparations for the return of unit 5 to service.

Eskom said the discovery was proof that there were acts of sabotage.

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Despite the unforeseen obstacle, the power company has managed to get unit 5 up and running again as soon as they discovered a glitch in the turbine systems due to cables that had been severed.

“The damage to the cable had the effect of delaying the unit’s return to service by three days as it took some time to locate the fault. Once discovered, the cable was repaired in a short space of time.” said Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Matshantsha

Matshantsha added “On the same day a few hours later, it was again discovered that there was a station control air pressure drop and the same Unit 5 turbine systems which consume control air for operation were de-energised.

“It was later discovered that the control air pipe supplying the turbine systems had been cut with a power tool and the entire bend removed.

“Same was welded back on and the system charged with control air before being normalised. The unit is expected to return to service today.”

There is reason to believe that these acts of sabotage were intentional and carried out by an individual(s) with access to the site which is only accessible to employees who are quite familiar with the security features in the area.

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“Eskom has laid criminal charges with the South African Police Service and its forensic team is assisting with the investigation,” said Matshantsha

Matshantsha added: “This is the fifth incident of sabotage since March 2021, and all of these have been reported to the police.

“As previously communicated, Eskom has employed measures to improve security at all its power stations in general and Tutuka Power Station in particular, where additional security personnel and smart technology have been introduced.”

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The measures that have been introduced are said to have been effective in the attempt to reduce cable theft incidents at the power station.

“ it is to be noted that incidents such as this one serve as an opportunity to apply further improvements to securing the facility and the supply of electricity,” said Matshantsha

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