As winter approaches, Eskom’s board chairperson Ben Ngubane says residents will have to put up with new power cut should government fails to approve the coal contract.
Eskom’s chair Ngubane delivered this message on Tuesday, saying SA will experience power cuts starting from next month unless Treasury signs purchase agreements so Eskom can build up its coal reserves.
The utility chief was speaking at the sidelines of African Utility Week conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. he said that the power provider had no issues in the past two winters because the National Treasury provided enough funding so that a enough coal was brought in and that stocks built up the stocks to more than a million tons.
He also noted that Eskom’s reinstated Molefe was to thank for the absence of power cuts in the past.
“Now we have a problem because Treasury has not yet signed our coal purchase agreements and we are in winter‚ and the winter is getting bitter. People are using electricity like crazy … We need to have enough stock of coal in view of that,” TimesLive reported Ngubane as saying.
“And the person who must take credit for that is Brian. [His reappointment] is for the good of the country and in the [best] interest of the company.”
Ngubane’s statement about a possible power cut came just hours after he was implicated along with the Eskom CEO Brian Molefe as playing a major role in the Guptas control over f a coal mine that was supplying Eskom as was stated in a scathing report by amaBhungane
“People are using electricity like crazy … We need to have enough stock of coal in view of that.” Ngubane said.
Molefe’s return to the state’s power utility has drawn much uproar among South Africans who believe his return was unconstitutional as he is yet to clear his name after Public Advocate Thuli’s state capture report mentioned him as one of those working with the influential Gupta family.
Other aggrieved citizens believe that Molefe’s return was aimed at fostering moves towards a final move into the highly opposed nuclear power deal. His return was welcomed with a high protest from SACP members and supporters who marched to the megawatt gate to stop him from entering his office.
Opposition parties, civil society organisations and even the ANC spoke out against Molefe’s reappointment, but it looks like he’s there to stay.
Meanwhile, reports also has it that Molefe, who was expected to be at the start of the at the Cape Town International Convention, was missing after investigative group implicated him in a plan to help the controversial Gupta family “hijack” the Optimum Coal mine operation from Glencore.
The investigative body had an intensive interview with the former mining minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi who made damning allegations against Molefe, Ngubane and president Jacob Zuma, saying that he was fired from the department when he would not go along with a plan to blackmail former Optimum owners, Glencore.