Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan addressed the media regarding the country’s power situation on Tuesday, 28 June 2022, and he revealed some of the damage caused by the ongoing illegal strike at Eskom’s power stations.
Employees have had their car tyres slashed, their homes petrol-bombed, and, in some cases, their vehicles set alight.
Gordhan said that protestors had also dumped loads of coal on the roads leading to the Camden power stations and had tampered with the electricity supply to the homes of Eskom staff.
In one case, Gordhan said an Eskom manager was leaving a power station one evening and found two of her tyres slashed. Eskom had to arrange transport to ensure she got home safely.
The minister stated that the protests are primarily to blame for the power utility having to implement Stage 6 power cuts from 16:00. He said that at some power stations, up to 90% of the staff compliment haven’t been able to go to work.
This meant that managerial staff had to take on most of the operational duties at power stations. Eskom also had to use excessive backup reserves to meet demand.
The protests kicked off on Thursday, 23 June, following a breakdown in wage negotiations between Eskom management and labour unions.
Eskom’s CEO André de Ruyter briefed the media on Friday and warned that load-shedding would intensify if the protests were allowed to continue.
Ten of Eskom’s generating units — representing over 6,000MW of capacity — including three each at Medupi and Tutuka, then broke down overnight between Monday and Tuesday, 27 and 28 June.
The power utility could not return the necessary generating capacity to the grid, resulting in it having to implement Stage 6 power cuts.
Photographs of some of the damage caused to the homes of Eskom employees and at its power stations are provided below.
Vehicle set alight
Coal dumped on access roads