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'Contractors sabotaging Medupi'

Numsa claims contractors are making money out of delays at the site.

Medupi power station 80% complete

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it believes some of the contractors working on Eskom's Medupi power plant may be deliberately sabotaging the work there.

Numsa's general secretary Irvin Jim says it's clear something's gone badly wrong at Medupi.

"The greatest problem we may be sitting with is sabotage."

Jim claims delays are good for these firms.

He says the number of companies trying to manage the site is an indication of this.

"The more the construction is being postponed the more these companies continue to make money out of the project."

The first electricity from the power station was initially due to come online at the end of this year.

However the power utility announced on Monday that Medupi's unit six will only hit the grid in the second half of 2014.

Eskom claims one of the main reasons for the delay is labour unrest.

It has also blamed the delay on underperformance by contractors and critical technical challenges to the system controlling the power-plant.

The delay has sparked fresh fears of load-shedding and has led to the cost of the project swelling by more than R10 billion.

The unit will add 800 megawatts to the power grid.