Labour unions deny sabotaging Eskom power supply

South Africans have been experiencing controlled outages since Thursday and could possibly be without power again over the weekend.

Eskom workers affiliated to NUM protesting outside the utility’s offices at Megawatt Park on 14 June 2018. Picture: @NUM_Media/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - While labour unions are not taking responsibility for acts of violence and intimidation at Eskom’s power stations, the utility says the industrial action is directly responsible for load shedding.

South Africans have been experiencing controlled outages since Thursday and could possibly be without power again over the weekend if electricity infrastructure continues to sabotage.

Workers went on strike on Thursday over Eskom's decision to freeze wage increases.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have both denied taking part in any acts of violence and intimidation over the past two days, saying their members have been peaceful and have in no way sabotaged power supply.

But Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe disagrees.

“If we had not had the intimidation and the kind of sabotage that we had on Thursday, we are 100% sure that we would’ve not had load shedding.”

Eskom says that the levels of violence have in fact increased, with one person reportedly arriving at a power station with a firearm, and about 18 people being arrested for damaging property or intimidating workers.

The NUM’s Livhuwani Mammburu says their members are only taking part in peaceful “lunchtime pickets”.

“Our members are not responsible for any intimidation.”

Meanwhile, South Africans can expect load shedding to continue until at least 9pm on Friday night and possibly over the weekend.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)