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MPs to visit Medupi

Members of Parliament will make their way to Limpopo to inspect the Medupi power station.

Medupi power station 80 percent complete. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's oversight committee on public enterprises will visit Eskom's Medupi power station in Limpopo next week.

The visit is a response to Eskom's recent announcement that the plant will only provide its first power in the second half of 2014, six months behind schedule.

Eskom blamed industrial action, contractors and problems with the system controlling the plant for the delay. The cost for the project will now rise to over R10 billion.

Committee chairman Peter Maluleka says when Members of Parliament (MPs) visited Medupi on an oversight visit in 2012, they were assured it was on track to start producing power by December.

He says MPs will be asking tough questions about the length of the delay.

"We want to establish whether this is just some wish that they have or it's definite."

The committee hopes to also to meet with unions and contractors.

The multi-party committee in charge of overseeing public enterprises planned to visit Medupi later this year. However, after Eskom's announcement of the delay, plans were changed.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) last week called for an independent probe of contractors, blaming them for the delays.

Speedy completion of the new power station is crucial if the country is to avoid a devastating energy crunch.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has expressed disappointment at the delay, but says he is confident with the new deadline.

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