According to André de Ruyter, CEO of the South African power utility Eskom, the company is facing deliberate acts of sabotage by unknown criminals. Late last week, De Ruyter showed images of a high capacity electricity pylon toppled when all eight of its metal support stays were cut.
On Wednesday evening, at Lethabo Power Station in the Free State, a pylon smashed into a backup line. Eskom declared sabotage. De Ruyter said Lethabo had been a “close shave” saved by the quick-thinking of officials in the generation section of Eskom. Lethabo had until now been one of the most reliable power stations in the Eskom fleet. Nothing was stolen around the area where the pylon went down, ruling out theft as a motive.
De Ruyter said load-shedding would be suspended on Friday, November 19 and that the outlook for the next week is for zero power cuts by Eskom. But sabotage was now a risk that made predictions difficult.