“Imminent and direct” threat to Eskom infrastructure — Report

Sunday Times reports that the troops deployed to Eskom power plants have been told to be “ready for anything.”

This is reportedly due to state intelligence indicating “imminent and direct threats to specific critical Eskom infrastructure, including power stations.”

Military insiders told the Sunday Times that this was disclosed in an internal joint operations document issued on 16 December.

Advocate Pikkie Greef of the South African National Defence Union (SANDU) said there are “indications that there is an urgent threat to the country’s assets.”

“The government might be preparing for a worst-case scenario. It’s not to say it will happen, but it’s a cautious contingency measure,” he said.

The plan to protect power stations

Citing military insiders, the paper reports that there is an extensive plan in place for seven power stations in Mpumalanga and the Free State.

This plan includes provision for the deployment of the airforce, medical health services, and military police.

The army could also be tasked with setting up roadblocks, conducting patrols on foot and by vehicle, conducting search operations, and enforcing crowd control.

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Andries Mokoena Mahapa said that its Eskom mission is a continuation of Operation Prosper — a joint operation between the police and the SANDF launched following the July unrest.

When it was launched, the operation’s goal was to prevent the re-emergence of looting and destruction after the riots.

“At present, the SANDF cannot describe the threat as this operation is currently underway. However, our soldiers are always prepared for any eventuality that could arise during this deployment,” said Mahapa.

“In accordance with the SANDF doctrine, this operation is also supported by necessary medical elements to cater for our deployed members as applicable to all SANDF deployments.”

“The SANDF wishes to state categorically that this deployment is part of an ongoing Operation Prosper.”

“Risk assessment and threat analysis remain the guiding principles in deploying soldiers to safeguard Eskom critical infrastructure.”

Military deployment

Vincent Magwenya

Eskom confirmed last week that the SANDF had been deployed at Majuba, Camden, Grootvlei, and Tutuka power stations.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that this deployment was important to protect Eskom infrastructure against criminal elements.

“There has been a concerted effort to collaborate across the security cluster to look at Eskom and root out the rotten eggs,” said Magwenya.

“We have power station managers wearing bulletproof vests at work. Their children are being escorted by security. Their wives are being escorted by security to where they work,” said Magwenya.

“It’s an unhealthy situation, and those are dedicated South Africans committed to helping us come out of this energy crisis.”

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“Imminent and direct” threat to Eskom infrastructure — Report