NUM Highveld Region concerned about load shedding

Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Eskom and Load shedding... An early morning picture taken at Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga Province. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Jan 17, 2023


THE National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Highveld Region says Mpumalanga – where the majority of Eskom power stations are – and the ongoing rollout of load shedding is unsustainable for the economies of most local communities and may result in more unemployment and poverty.

NUM said load shedding could be avoided if the government had moved with greater speed to implement the commitments of the Eskom Social Compact.

“As the NUM we are concerned that there seems to not be a willingness to resolve the load shedding that is engulfing the entire country,” said the union.

The union said it was organising at Eskom and upon engaging with its members on the ground about the causes of the national crisis, the response was that load shedding will continue to be unavoidable because of power stations such as Kendal, Matla and Tutuka that are not operating at full capacity.

“The challenges to these power stations is known. It is in fact disturbing that the Tutuka power station, in particular, is a failure yet the general manager is still occupying the position.

“Since this man arrived at Tutuka, the power station is under- performing; his focus is on body guards who are always surrounding him and omnipresent as if he is acting in a movie, but he is suffering from a colossal failure to turn around the power station, said NUM Highveld deputy regional secretary Thapelo Malekutu.

The NUM demanded the immediate removal of Eskom’s Tutuka power station general manager as it alleged he continues to place the country under unnecessary stress and strain.

“The NUM is equally not happy with the performance of the general managers of Matla, Kendal and Kusile power stations. Kusile power station has been running with one unit ever since.

“Also, the issue of replacement, breakdown and maintenance spares has been a permanent problem. It must be attended to with agility. South Africa could not be be subjected to a permanent rollout of load shedding moving it from one stage to another,” added the union

It also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider engaging with the union and to stop listening or considering reports from Minister Pravin Gordan.

“Minister Gordan has reached the ceiling in terms of thinking. He is confused and knows nothing. He misled the President on a number of occasions and brought the so-called retired engineers into the system. Eskom does not need old engineers; it requires young and energetic engineers.

“When a person is old he or she tend to forget easily and practically they even tend to confuse the names of their own grandchildren. How can such an old and retired engineer remember the plant components?” the union said.

The NUM has a strategy on how the country can overcome some of the Eskom’s challenges, the union proclaimed.