“So far, the centre is still holding but things are falling apart around our systems,” said Phasiwe. “From 3am – when some of our people who were going to work were stopped before they even got there. And also at the power station levels, the roads were blockaded, which was making things very difficult. We also have intimidation, where at least one person has been hospitalised.”The parastatal was therefore unable to ensure an uninterrupted power supply. Due to the severe power constraints, Eskom had no choice but to commence with Stage 1 load-shedding in the evening – from 17:41 to 20:00. The situation, at the moment, remains tense. Eskom has stated that if protesting continues, and if workers continue to sabotage the power supply, load-shedding could continue on the 15th.
“So, where’s Eskom’s Plan B then, after claiming that they had a Plan B, and that nothing will be affected? So, why is it that suddenly these interruptions are now being blamed on our members? That’s completely outrageous.”In the meanwhile, Eskom has reportedly obtained a court interdict against striking workers. The order reportedly prevents workers from tripping the power supply, hijacking coal trucks, interfering with coal supply, blocking entrances, and intimidating other employees. Regardless, winter is pretty much here and as everybody knows, electricity usage soars in the cold months. Eskom has told parliament that the grid is stable and that it is prepared to meet the demands of winter. Although the new board is certainly trying, how could we possibly be comforted? The beleaguered company has been unreliable in the past – proving itself to be underprepared and clumsy. Let’s take Cape Town’s water crisis, for example. Day Zero was only narrowly avoided due to citizens beginning to save water way ahead of time. And then there’s Eskom, which only submitted tenders for emergency coal supplies last week. The company has already admitted that it is between 3 and 5 million tons of coal short. This problem should have been foreseen and sorted out a long time ago.
Update: Eskom has indeed confirmed that load-shedding will take place on Friday the 15th.