Eskom latest: truck drivers arrested with stolen coal

(Bloomberg) – Drivers contracted to Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. were arrested after their trucks contained stolen coal, marking a small step in efforts to fight against organised criminal activity at the utility.

Eskom security guards stopped two drivers who maintained the trucks exiting Kendal Power Station were empty before the fuel was discovered, the company said in a statement. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in an interview earlier this year with Bloomberg said steps to tackle “mafia” groups targeting the utility would be intensified.

“Coal theft is a highly organized criminal activity and syndicates involved are being enriched through the proceeds derived from the trade,” said Karen Pillay, general manager for security at Eskom. “There are several illicit coal stockyards and dump sites in the province that are recipients of the stolen coal.”

South Africa Secures Green Loans at Fraction of Market Rates

Some of the loans South Africa secured as part of an $8.5 billion climate finance package will cost a fraction of what it would have paid commercial lenders and will cut the country’s future borrowing costs, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said.  

As part of the deal, South Africa agreed to a €300 million ($298 million) loan from Agence Francaise de Developpement, France’s development bank, at an interest rate of 3.6% and a loan of the same size from Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbauat at 3%, the National Treasury said in a later statement. An equivalent loan at the market rate would have a rate of about 8.9%, it said.

S. African Investigating Unit Freezes Assets of Ex-Eskom Manager

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Special Investigating Unit got a preservation order to preserve a luxury property in Silver Lakes Estates, Pretoria, a Mercedes Benz Viano and a Chevrolet Utility that belong to a former Eskom middle manager.

The former employee of the state-owned power utility signed 23 interim payment certificates for a company called Tamukelo between December 2011 and July 2014 that totaled about 138 million rand, the SIU said in an emailed statement

S. Africa Seeks to Balance Between Clean Air and Electricity

South Africa is looking for a way to both keep the lights on and the air clean after troubled state utility Eskom breached emissions limits and the government lost a case filed by climate activists.

Environment Minister Barbara Creecy told Bloomberg Television she had appointed a panel to help find a solution. 

S. Africa’s Creecy Says Debt in Coal Deal Is Issue

South African Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said the large amount of debt in an $8.5 billion coal transition deal with some of the world’s richest countries is a “fundamental issue.”

Some of the funds will be spent on reskilling communities that are reliant on coal mining or coal-fired power plants and those activities will not generate revenue, she said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. 

South Africa “needs a greater non-debt component,” she said. “The partners have undertaken to look into that.”

South Africa Signs Deal for €600 Million From Germany, France

South Africa’s government signed loan agreements with French and German public development banks to support its efforts to shift from coal toward cleaner energy sources.

Agence Française de Développement and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau extended concessional loans of €300 million each to the South African government as part of an $8.5 billion climate finance deal it was offered by wealthy nations at the COP26 talks in Glasgow last year, the National Treasury said in a statement Wednesday. 

More Outages in South Africa After Plant Breakdown

Eskom will remove 2,000 megawatts from the electricity grid at 9 a.m. until further notice, after a generating unit at the Duvha power plant broke down and the return to service of another facility was delayed, the utility said in an emailed statement.

Despite installed capacity of more than 40,000 megawatts, Eskom is unable to provide regular electricity because its old coal-fired plants keep failing. The utility has implemented power rationing on 151 days this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

–With assistance from S’thembile Cele, Loni Prinsloo, Renee Bonorchis, Antony Sguazzin, Yousef Gamal El-Din and Prinesha Naidoo.

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