Unsavoury side hustle: Eskom workers cause load shedding to increase overtime, bonuses – report

Aside from inept governance, high crime and crumbling infrastructure, South Africans have had to contend with load shedding for many years. Frustrating, inconvenient and just plain irritating, the intermittent power supply has also caused great damage to the economy. Earlier in the year, MyBroadband reported on a startling announcement: South Africa can expect even worse load shedding in 2022. There are many reasons for the frequent power interruption: failure to build enough power stations timeously being one of them. But there are more sinister reasons at play. MyBroadband reports employees of the power utility are colluding with suppliers and contractors in order to increase their overtime and bonuses and make money on the side through inside information. Read the original article, Eskom employees break powerplants and cause load-shedding to make extra money, here. – Jarryd Neves

Eskom employees break powerplants and cause load-shedding to make extra money

By MyBroadband

Eskom employees collude with contractors and suppliers in a “big scam” to increase their overtime and bonuses and make money on the side through inside information.

This information is contained in a forensic report, compiled by security company Bizz Tracers, which exposed infrastructure sabotage by rogue Eskom contractors and employees.

The Sunday Times reported that the forensic report was handed to Eskom in January 2020 but was initially ignored.

The report said sabotage and other crimes were planned internally and executed with help from outsiders. These outsiders included crime syndicates and Eskom service providers.

“Eskom employees removed cameras, distribution boards, and a control timer to switch electrical equipment on and off, as well as committing other acts of vandalism,” the Sunday Times said.

Employees then colluded with suppliers who were paid to fix the units. The suppliers were given inside information and were even told what prices they could charge.

The former head of security at Tutuka, Dan Korope, told the Sunday Times employees broke power plant parts to work overtime. They then phone suppliers to supply the new parts.

“It is a big scam where a lot of technical people make a lot of money together with suppliers,” said Korope.

“When you have load-shedding, just know that someone is going to get paid a lot of money at the end of the month from overtime.”

The Sunday Times report followed numerous reports of sabotage at Eskom, which is partly behind the load-shedding experienced in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter shared information that showed the “clearest indication yet” that deliberate sabotage of Eskom’s infrastructure was taking place and causing load-shedding.

De Ruyter said coincidental incidents suggested individuals were purposefully sabotaging Eskom’s infrastructure and that some of them might be its own employees.

“There is definitely significant push-back from some of the networks that have benefited extensively from criminal activity in and around Eskom,” said De Ruyter.

“For some time, we have had suspicious incidents, but I think this is the clearest indication that we have had to date that there are individuals out there who seek to damage the economy by causing substantial load-shedding,” De Ruyter said.

The Eskom CEO showed images of a power pylon that had collapsed along the distribution lines that fed power to the Lethabo Power Station’s coal conveyor belts.

De Ruyter explained that an assessment of the stays holding the tower in place before it fell over showed signs that they had been cut deliberately.

“The stays that were cut are galvanised steel rods, 24mm in diameter, so these are very sturdy rods,” De Ruyter stated.

“The perpetrators of this cut all eight stays. There is no sign of corrosion, no sign of metal fatigue, there was no shearing of the stays.”

De Ruyter admitted that Eskom was battling more than just system failures, including “deliberate internal and external forces that understood its systems enough to bring the utility to its knees”.

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