South Africa

ANALYSIS

Load shedding – an election weapon best used steaming hot

Load shedding – an election weapon best used steaming hot
Illustrative image | ANC banner. | A candle-lit house experiencing Stage 6 load shedding in Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape. (Photos: Felix Dlangamandla | Rawpixel | iStock)

The arrival of Stage 6 load shedding over the weekend underscores how potent an issue the energy crisis will be in this year’s elections. And the timing of the latest round of problems at Eskom, between the State of the Nation Address and the launch of the EFF’s election manifesto, could not have been worse for the ANC. Also, the response to it from the party’s secretary-general shows, once again, how the party tends to react with emotion, not rationality.

Last Thursday evening, during a period of Stage 2 load shedding, President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed that the end of load shedding was in sight. 

Just hours later, Eskom intensified load shedding to Stage 4. After midnight, on Saturday, it climbed to Stage 6, followed by Stage 5 on Sunday. 

On Sunday, Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa explained that a major contributor was boiler tube leaks. And the weather conditions that saw virtually no wind and relatively little sun added to the problem.

Politically, however, the story had already moved on.

On Saturday, EFF leader Julius Malema released his party’s manifesto, giving an indication of how important load shedding will be to his campaign. The slogan of the EFF’s manifesto is simple, “Land and Jobs Now. End Load Shedding Now”.

On Monday morning, spokesperson Sinawo Tambo reiterated the party’s promise that if elected into national government, it will stop load shedding within six months.

As part of this plan, the EFF intends to recruit a group of engineers who, they say, are willing to help.

Tambo also told SAfm on Monday morning: “We must bring back industry experts who have been able to stop load shedding before. And that is going to require all of us to sort of swallow our pride and accept that there were individuals who’ve been at Eskom, who’ve been able to put a stop to load shedding in South Africa before, and these people must be deployed there…”

When asked if he was referring to former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko and former CEO Brian Molefe, he said: “I didn’t mention any names, but we are going to have to be honest with ourselves that there are individuals who are industry experts who have been removed.”

Both Koko and Molefe have faced criminal charges over their roles at Eskom during the State Capture era.

Meanwhile, this coming weekend, the DA is also likely to use its manifesto launch to turn up the heat on the ANC. It has previously been a part of a series of court applications that resulted in a ruling that the ANC-led government was responsible for load shedding.

Of course, the fact that the ANC is responsible both for the start of load shedding and its continuation makes it vulnerable to these attacks. 

The ANC’s response to the crisis was revealing (though not surprising).

On Saturday, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula tweeted on X: “Stage 6 load shedding clear sabotage. Strong extra security measures are needed.”

On Sunday, he repeated this claim, telling ANC supporters in KwaZulu-Natal: “The state must not rule out the possibility of sabotage which is aligned to major events in the country. There are many questions that ordinary people like ourselves ask about load shedding and how it is happening, and those questions point to the direction that it is very clear there is sabotage. 

“But we are saying, as the ANC, the state must up its gear in terms of investigating and looking at particular possibilities.” 

So far, Mbalula has given no evidence to back up his claims of sabotage.

But it is also not clear what the ANC, or government, could do to protect Eskom installations from this alleged “sabotage”.

At present, SANDF soldiers have been deployed to protect Eskom power stations. This suggests it would be difficult for anyone outside these power stations to cause any damage.

It is much more likely that any “sabotage” would come from insiders – people who work within the power stations.

This would support claims made by former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, and others, that there was widespread corruption at Eskom power stations. And that this “sabotage” is aimed at increasing the amount of work for contractors and the amount of consumables that Eskom would have to use, thus generating invoices for suppliers.

This might be awkward for some in the ANC who have previously attacked De Ruyter for making these claims. 

Also, Mbalula’s claim appears to directly contradict the explanations given for this spate of load shedding by Eskom as well as Ramokgopa.

They have said the real cause of this was a series of boiler tube leaks. These tubes transport steam often at temperatures of around 1,000°C.

As EE Publishers has explained (through a News 24 report), fixing these is incredibly difficult. It involves large tubes having to be cooled down through the use of massive fans, and then a person has to climb into the tube and find the leak. After repairing it, the site has to be X-rayed to ensure it is properly sealed.

All of this takes time, and often the biggest variable is how long it will take to cool down the tubes before a person can get into them.

It does appear to be technically possible that one of the causes of these leaks is the use of mixed-quality coal, which can lead to particular forms of ash blowing through these tubes. At these speeds and temperatures, the ash can act almost like sandpaper on the sides of the tubes, leading to these leaks.

However, the chair of the National Rationalised Specifications Association of SA, Vally Padayachee, has told Newzroom Afrika he does not believe that coal is the cause of these leaks, but rather a set of other maintenance problems. He also believes there will be more incidents such as these, where a cluster of tube leaks occurs, leading to intense load shedding.

Despite these technical explanations, Mbalula is likely to repeat his claims of sabotage.

This has been a consistent claim by the ANC – that severe load shedding is a deliberate attempt to weaken the party.

It was Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe who claimed in December 2022, without evidence, that intense load shedding was “akin to agitating for the overthrow of the state”.

That comment led directly to De Ruyter resigning from Eskom. 

More than a year later, the incoming CEO, Dan Marokane, has yet to start his term. He will take office only next month.

All of this underscores how dangerous this situation has become. When technical problems lead to load shedding, the response of the ANC is to claim that it is the victim of sabotage. And those claims can then have dire consequences.

Considering how important load shedding is to voters, it is likely that ANC leaders will keep repeating this claim. This means that while Mbalula may be able to let off his own superheated steam fairly regularly, he will never be able to generate more electricity. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Frank Fettig says:

    Can’t make this up. Never.

  • Stephen Paul says:

    No. When you lose the ability to protect your power stations, you open power generation to the market. They always had that option but refused to take it.

    • Francois Smith says:

      The issue in fact is that the ANC cannot acknowledge that their EE policy in Eskom led to a dismal failure of the institution. If these problems of inside sabotage was not there prior to Mbeki’s Grand Coloring Book Project, but they are here now, then the Grand Coloring Book Project brought in dishonest, lazy, thieving, incompetent and overpaid cadres. Go figure.

  • Heinrich Holt says:

    The universe is made of protons, electrons, neutrons, and morons.

  • peter selwaski says:

    You can cover SA with solar panels and windmills and there will still be times when no electricity is generated. If you don’t want blackouts forever, go nuclear for a reliable nonpolluting power source.

    • Johan Buys says:

      Peter, have a look at the Scatec project in South Africa. Solar plus battery storage, delivers constant power 19h a day. Eskom did not ask for the other 5h in their offpeak period, but you can actually run solar 24/7/365 and wind also. Or, a project that combines the two. Just add pumped hydro and you can cost effectively build a 48h storage buffer for larger safety margin?

      Nuclear’s problem is cost and time. The most recent 2G2 nuclear station went $22b over its $14b budget. At R800 billion and 12% cost of capital for 2GW that station can never repay itself.

      • peter selwaski says:

        Any overrun is the result of bad/incompetent planning. Here in the United States we would not settle for 19/24th of a power solution, but we have access to solutions by competing companies. Cheating and/or incompetence is outed and eventually corrected.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      …only if you trust the ANC not to let it explode.

      I don’t.

      (I’m still waiting to read stories about glowing fish with 7 legs being spotted sprinting along the Western Cape coastline )

    • Adrian Galley says:

      Nonpolluting? Then how would you describe nuclear waste? I’m not against nuclear energy responsibly managed, but the downside has to be acknowledged.

    • Dee Bee says:

      You don’t need to generate electricity 24/7 – that’s what battery storage is for.

      • Max Ulf says:

        YEA, and batteries that need to be constantly changed at what cost? and to who? and never mind the transmission of electricity over 1000s of kms?

        • Dee Bee says:

          Batteries are charged whilst electricity is being produced – it’s not a separate operation. And as for transmission lines, we already transmit electricity over long distances from the coal-fired stations in Mpumalanga to the Cape, so I don’t get your point? Moreover, our current transmission infrastructure is inadequate for the projected demand going forward, so you need to build more anyway, or get stuck in an EFF economy where they believe that a few crumbling coal-fired stations is tickety-boo an no need for anything new (or private). Mind you, with them in power, you could run the economy on a candle, assuming you could pay to import one.

        • Johan Buys says:

          Max

          Batteries could be at point of generation (I have huge solar and batteries on my premises), or at IPP (Scatec’s solar project that injects energy 19h a day) or at grid points (a 50MW substation with 200MWh storage that stays on during loadshedding).

          Electricity transmits the same whether it comes from a steam boiler driving turbines or a solar panel or a battery system.

          Battery lifecycles are becoming interesting and newer technology will advance this. I have a 600kWh system with a warranty for providing 80% of initial capacity after 5000 cycles. So even if you cycle the battery twice a day each business day then that is over 8y and at that point the battery is not kaput, it still has 80% capacity.

          Cost is around R4800/kWh. So a 600 kWh battery = R3m and 5000 cycles is 3,000,000 kWh so you can work on storage cost of R1/kwh served. Add solar costs about 65c/kWh then usable electricity is R1.65 which is half what Eskom costs today. It is a fraction of what Eskom will cost by 2030.

    • Hidden Name says:

      Do you REALLY want new build nuclear managed by ANC incompetents with our future mortgaged to the Russians for the privilege of being irradiated when said incompetents inevitably cock it up? A very brave position – and I am not stupid enough to join you.
      I we had competent leadership would were likely to appoint capable people and not steal vast portions of the funds, I would actually agree with you. But we need to adjust to reality here, which means keeping the ANC kleptocrats away from any nuclear build!

      • peter selwaski says:

        Nuclear is a reliable non polluting power source and that’s why I mentioned it. There are so many people afraid of co2, which is plant food. They have been misled by the green freaks. CO2 comprises 420 ppm of atmospheric molecules. That’s 0.04 percent. These are not ninja molecules. I’ve got no problem with gas or coal power generation either, but nuclear does not need constant replenishing. For more real info concerning this issue, see netzerowatchDOTcom

        • Colin K says:

          Netzerowatch is a lobby org not a research one. In any event, their cherry-picked data has been suitably debunked.

          Leaving aside the politics of the climate question (it’s a physics problem, after all), you do realise that plants need things other than CO2? Like water and minerals (mainly soil based). In a drought CO2 will not keep plants alive. It also does nothing about heat stress. You need to consider plant biology beyond a Grade 6 level.

          Apart from all that, yes, get as much latest-generation nuclear technology as possible onto all grids.

  • Joe Soap says:

    “But we are saying, as the ANC, the state must up its gear in terms of investigating and looking at particular possibilities.” Fikile talks like there are two ANC’s; the party and the one in government. It is the same crime syndicate in both. He is correct though, load shedding is as a result of sabotage. Not by a third force but by the ANC and its criminal tendencies.

  • Kevin Venter says:

    You quite literally couldn’t dream this up in your wildest dream. From the spin doctors blaming sabotage (which probably isn’t far off the truth, but the reason behind sabotage is spun to make it seem politically motivated when actually it would almost certainly be corruption related). So the red berets, whose fearless leader has been embroiled in tenderpreneuring since the start reckons they can fix load shedding by bringing in engineers…. How is it that a government can be utterly useless and set the bar so low for themselves that they have the nerve to stand up at Sona and proclaim so many achievements. They have turned South Africa into a welfare state where the few tax payers who are left in the country are picking up the tab for grants and grants and grants as well as to continually pick up the tab for corrupt dealings. The very essence of a kakistrocracy (real word). South Africa under ANC rule has quite literally turned into the twilight zone.

    • Ella de Beer says:

      100% correct, absolute kakistocracy (love the word by the way). And should the anc manage to keep the power on, it will be at a tremendous cost for our already messed up country, only until after elections mind you. Then we’ll be back to square one, probably worse.

    • Denise Smit says:

      Encore!!!!!!!

  • Garth Mason says:

    A weekly SONA will drastically reduce load shedding.

  • Mike Blackburn says:

    Unfortunately Mr Razzmatazz is correct when it comes to claims of sabotage. But he needs to turn his gaze further back – Eskom has been a victim of a prolonged and unremitting sabotage at the hands of the ANC govt, its cadre deployment policy and the wholesale looting that has resulted.

  • Josie Rowe-Setz says:

    Test

  • Jo Stielau says:

    Stage 6 load shedding “clear sabotage”. Naughty Snowball sneaking back onto Animal Farm again!

  • Jan Vos says:

    The chickens have come home to roost. And their names? BEEs.

    When the “colonialists” get fired, or move on, the country goes to pot. Just look at the rest of Africa.

    • Dee Bee says:

      The ‘rest of Africa’ is a very large place, with very large discrepancies in how they’re managing things. Botswana is in the ‘rest of Africa’ and has gone from 10th poorest globally at independence, to a middle-income country today through judicious use of its resources. Namibia, having suffered from an actual genocide under the precious colonialists, and decades of apartheid and actual war thereafter, is doing just fine – and is set to become the energy powerhouse of Southern Africa within a decade. Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya and others are all making great strides in reforming their economies, attracting meaningful FDI in key industries and infrastructure development and leaving SA in the dust in terms of economic growth and development.

      Europe, meanwhile, is at war again, (poor dears can’t help themselves – either battering the rest of the world or having fratricidal local wars) and collapsing, slowly but surely, under idiocy of the likes of Sunak, Orban, Putin, Wilders and others, whilst it looks like the US is set to re-elect a sex pest and serial tax cheating bigot as president. Near Asia and the Middle East is a complete mess, with a nationalist Hindu party destroying multi-culturalism in India, Pakistan in the grips of the military-civilian corruption complex, repression in Iran (and much of the region), and widespread conflict from Afghanistan through the Middle East. Easy to make sweeping assertions, without attention to detail?

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Yes!

    • ST ST says:

      Glorifying colonialism…how sickening. Again…the fact that native Africans did not know how to run countries in the westernised world was by design..under the assumptions that natives were too stupid and too unimportant to learn, and that like Zuma, the ‘coloniser’ as you say will rule forever. The design was therefore useful to justify oppression as you still do today. Unfortunately none of those assumptions were true. Now to your amusement those not given your 1st class education in governance, politics, economy are now in charge!

      Now…the architect don’t understand how this castle was built in shaky foundations, the chef at a loss as to how their ingredients led to this soup! Unfortunate for all of us SA citizens.

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        That sounds like some serious excuse making. The party governing south africa have had unfettered control of every resource of state to do whatever they chose for 30 years. When would you say that they would begin to bear some responsibility for the outcomes we’re experiencing?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    “Land and Jobs Now. End Load Shedding Now”.

    DA take note of this powerful populist slogan.

    The fact that the EFF won’t be able to do any better on electricity and their land and jobs approaches will likely prove terminal for the South African economy is irrelevant. It is all about the statement; it is all about electioneering, it is all about votes.

    So, as much as it is not in my nature to say this, DA please please fight fire with fire. I literally don’t care if you promise every citizen one million rands in order to increase your votes this election, the end will more than justify the means for all of us South Africans.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Sadly, I think you are 100% right. Even more sadly, the fact that we can be lured with patently absurd promises made by career criminals is why we are doomed to decay and ultimately collapse.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      The EFF Manifesto will lead to a people shortage, everybody gainfully at work that we will need millions of extra migrants.
      ….or maybe not!!

    • Citizen X says:

      R1million per citizen probably best way to get basic issues resolved and empower people. Government cannot solve without billions… And still they get nowhere.

  • Alley Cat says:

    And the EFFing CIC wants to bring back Molefe and his mates? The only reason we didn’t have load shedding during their tenure was because they ran the power stations into the ground, with no maintenance. Here’s an idea… Bring them back but only if they work online in prison! So if I go and murder someone, I can be forgiven if I have supposed skills to keep the power on? Boggles the mind!

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    The circus is now in full swing. Fixfokol was in nappies in 2009 when load shedding started. So, according to him, the saboteurs have been in full swing since then. The ANC’s ability to torture truth and logic now exceeds any levels ever seen before on this planet.

  • Bradley Welcome says:

    Odd how, from the ANC’s point of view, this is an attack on the ANC and not the country.
    The ANC response reinforces my belief that this is a government of the ANC for the ANC. Tragic for our citizens.

  • Mark Hammick says:

    The ANC has alleged sabotage; having made the allegation provide the proof thereof.

  • Johan Buys says:

    I think loadshedding isn’t a weapon against the ANC but a weapon inside the ANC, used by the RET / zupta faction to halt half-hearted attempts to fix the ANC. Basically an extortion racket. When they feel pressure on lucrative contracts or their leaders are threatened in positions or investigations, they break a few things to send a message.

  • Charles Butcher says:

    What else can we expect from the thieving anc governmunt, is it because they lack managemunt skills and wish to put us on the pavemunt, yeah sure we belive their LIES

  • Dragon Slayer says:

    Loadshedding may be ammo for the opposition going into the elections – But stand by for ANC to use a threat to social grants and the NHI free private hospital health care as the saviour of the poor (Cyril the boneless will find a key just in time) – Remember Zuma free education poison pill that now consumes 16.5% of SA budget without any improvement in unemployment.

  • Dee Bee says:

    I am 100% convinced that the problems at Eskom, Transnet, Post Office, SAA and everywhere else that’s collapsing is indeed as a result of sabotage: it’s called cadre deployment.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Mzansi’s idiot voters have given us an organised crime network as a government and appear hell bent on doubling down on that in the coming election. What it in the hell is wrong with us?

  • Jon Quirk says:

    It is no good the ANC shouting periodically about sabotage – it has been in power for a long time, and if it doesn’t know by now who the malign forces are – both within and without the ANC – then it is even more incompetent than we believe it to be.

    Now which parties have just announced their manifestos, ah, yes, the ANC and the Zuma crowd. Malema has even been helpful by indicating that they will bring back Koko and Molefe.

    So a very good place to start would be forces within Eskom who support the EFF – Zuma factions, and yes, they probably ARE acting in concert.

    The Grey Owl, Mazzotti, is obviously spitting blood as cameras in his factories, or at least those within South Africa, will severely restrict his illicit tobacco operations and the cashflows that result, that of course feed the Malema-EFF-Zuma family; I do hope SARS keeps up the pressure – the whole of our country needs a thorough clean-out.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    The corrupt ANC government is full of lies & BS, that the BS literally drips from their mouths!! Only uneducated people will vote for the corrupt ANC government, and that is the reason why our corrupt ANC government is destroying our education system!!

  • Wacko Oh says:

    The only cause of sabotage is the
    Sabotage of South Africa by the ANC !!

  • Corry Versluis says:

    It is sabotage… The anc for the last 30 years

  • Lawrence Jacobson says:

    FM: “It’s sabotage, I tell you. Sabotage!”
    SA: “But how do you know?”
    FM: “Because the people doing it work for us.”
    SA: “Say what?”
    FM: “Look here, it is on their CVs and job description.”

  • Magnus.dejongh says:

    Keep the Lights On: Vote for the Democratic Alliance in the Upcoming Elections

    In the midst of an upcoming election, it’s crucial to weigh our choices carefully. One of the pressing issues for many citizens is reliable access to electricity. South Africa has been grappling with power challenges for a long time, and it’s imperative that we elect a party that has a concrete plan to address this issue.

    The Democratic Alliance stands out as a strong contender in this regard. Their focus on implementing sustainable energy solutions and ensuring efficient management of resources makes them a compelling choice for those concerned about the ongoing power crisis. It’s no secret that dependable electricity is crucial for economic growth, job creation, and a better quality of life for all South Africans.

    Under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance, there is a solid commitment to promoting renewable energy sources, exploring innovative technologies, and holding accountable those responsible for the mismanagement of essential resources. Their track record in local governance and their clear vision for a modern, sustainable energy infrastructure sets them apart as a party capable of steering our country towards a brighter, more electrified future.

    In these upcoming elections, we have the power to make a difference by choosing leaders who prioritize the urgent needs of the people. By casting our vote for the Democratic Alliance, we can take a significant step towards keeping the lights on and building a more stable, prosperous energy environment for all. Let’s empower our nation by supporting a party that is dedicated to ensuring a brighter and more electrified tomorrow for South Africa.

    Choosing the Democratic Alliance means choosing a future where reliable electricity is no longer a luxury, but a fundamental right for all. Let’s keep the lights on, together.

  • Ray Jones says:

    Having been involved with boiler tubes and power plants for more than 50 years, I will try and explain simply. Boiler tubes are a large bundle of 50mm schedule 40 seamless pipes, welded to a massive circular disc, that steam passes through. The material has to be of the highest quality and all welding is 100% radiographer. It’s not much different to your kettle. The tube bundle can be 4, 5, or even 6 meters in length and may carry upto 2000 tubes. The tube lifespan is not long and once above 6% of leaks are detected, the boiler has to be taken from service. Normally, a power station has spare tube bundles, which takes 5 – 6 days to carry out the change, but in the meantime, the whole plant stops

    • Max Ulf says:

      Not to forget the cooldown period it takes which could last a week before any work or boiler entry can even begin.

    • Michael Thomlinson says:

      Thanks for the explanation Ray. One can just imagine how something like this is used to enrich individual comrades. A tentropeneur will have the maintenance contract with Eskom making a fortune for no good reason while the real contractor gets his hands dirty and gets on with the job. Meanwhile Eskom pays double for the work and the tenropeneur is looking to get something else to break so that he can make more money while sitting on his ass. Simple economics. Now if Eskom had it’s own maintenace crew this would be different story (I am assuming)?

  • Nicolaas Parsons says:

    Whats worse, not being able to fix load shedding or not being able to prevent sabotage ?

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Have a heart. The ANC is simultaneously responsible for creating the power crisis, fixing the power crisis, performing the sabotage, preventing the sabotage and stealing a billion rand a month from eskom. How do you think you’d do if you had all that on your plate?

  • Karen Spangler says:

    Do ‘the powers that be” suffer from all this load shedding…or just their “subjects”? Watching my country of birth completely disintegrate because IDIOTS, LIARS & THIEVES run the country makes my heart sick.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    The EFF statement that they are going to “hire engineers to clean up Eskom and end loadshedding” has to be an April fools joke in February! Engineers from where? Cuba? Russia? Saudi Arabia? Whoever is funding the EFF and allowing them to make such false promises ( and give what in return?) needs to be investigated!

  • Ritey roo roo says:

    The ANC will pause load shedding a few weeks before the the elections

  • Daniel Mah says:

    It’s always someone else fault, not sense of accountability whatsoever

  • propertysharp says:

    They have said the real cause of this was a series of boiler tube leaks. These tubes transport steam often at temperatures of around 1,000°C. If you are going to report on engineering related matters please discuss this with a boiler engineer or someone with knowledge, Not even superheater tubes operate at 1000C. As for someone crawling into the tubes they are under 100mm in diameter, how will anyone ecver fit in there . Please check you facts this is outright embarrassing.

  • robertbreyer says:

    We are all s0 tired of the ANC. Yet they will likely win the next. elections again, albeit with a smaller margin,
    We South Africans that dont believe in red socks, Karl Marx or the toothfairy need to vote with our fingers at the next election: Switch off all our solar installations. Just for one day. We will likely go up by two or three stages of load shedding. So be it. It will be worth it because it will mean millions of swing voters will not vote ANC as a result. Who is on board with the solar boycott? 5 GW from the grid will send a whole new message to the electorate.

  • Jaqueline Perkes says:

    SONAmbulism

  • All of these species claims about “sabotage” at Eskom power stations by ANC General Secretory Fikile Mbabula, reminds of President’s Zuma’s conspiracy claims about the “fourth estate” destroying his reputation and the Government’s as the avalanche of corruptions claims were engulfing him and hastening his demise in 2018. “Bring my machine gun Comrades, there is work to be done!”

  • Cedric Buffler says:

    If I was CEO of Eskom, there would be two items right near the top of the agenda:
    1. Get back some of the key engineers from the past (not those involved in corruption!)
    2. Appoint an independent lboratory to randomly test the quality of the coal that is delivered and eliminate suppliers who deliver inferior quality coal.
    I believe that implementing just these two steps will result in a significant improvement in delivery of electricity

  • Adrian Wolmarans says:

    The actual likelihood of sabotage notwithstanding, the ANC tends to use words like sabotage and counter-revolution when the going gets tough.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    I wonder if Ramokgopa has ever been inside a boiler. Because as far as I know, these tubes are the ones where the water runs through inside the boiler, and in the process gets heated up to CREATE super-heated steam which will then indeed probably be up to 1000 degrees hot. But if these tubes were big enough for a person to crawl into it, it would be FAR too large to be able to efficiently heat up water – to heat up water it has to be thin so the heat can quickly get to the water (the superheated steam then flows through pipes to the turbines to drive them so the generators connected to the turbines can generate electricity). The problem with the tube leaks, according to what Ted Blom, an energy expert who obviously once worked for Eskom, said is that, if there are rocks or stones inside the coal, where the coal burns, the rocks and stones explodes due to the heat, and the explosions punch holes into the tubes. Another possibility is however that, because these power stations are so old, that the wear and tear on the tubes caused them to become thin, and eventually they start to leak. However, whatever is the case, the solution is that the tubes have to be replaced. That is not a small job because it means the removal of the exchanger. But it will keep recurring because each time other tubes will be affected. So I suspect Ramokgopa is wrong; the load shedding will keep happening until all these tubes and/or exchangers are replaced which will take many years.

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