Energy expert Mike Rossouw said Eskom is in total collapse and has completely lost control of its generation fleet.
Speaking to Cape Talk, Rossouw accused Eskom CEO André de Ruyter and the government of not telling the truth about the crisis at the power utility.
“Eskom’s generation fleet is completely destroyed, and they are not doing the maintenance they should,” he said. “The truth is Eskom has completely lost control of its generation fleet.”
He said it is a death spiral, with Eskom deteriorating to the extent that their power plants cannot be recovered.
“The situation we are facing is that we are going into a vicious load-shedding cycle for a long period of time.”
Rossouw said Eskom is in such a dire situation that Eskom’s management and politicians do not want to admit it.
“They need to tell the truth, but they are not willing to. It includes André de Ruyter and the politicians,” he said.
“They need to admit and tell the public — who deserves to know — that Eskom is in total collapse.”
Unlike many other Eskom critics, Rossouw is not calling on De Ruyter and the Eskom board to resign.
Rossouw said the problems at Eskom are much bigger than the current board and management team.
He also dismissed finance minister Enoch Godongwana’s criticism of Eskom CEO André De Ruyter, saying he does not understand the situation.
“The problem is much bigger than him. It is much bigger than the government and politicians. It is even bigger than the President,” he said.
Rossouw is not the only expert who has sounded the alarm about the severe problems at Eskom.
Solidarity’s coordinator for the electrical sector, Tommy Wedderspoon, said Eskom does not have enough money for spares to fix power stations.
“Staff are trying to improvise and get permission for makeshift plans, but when the pawpaw hits the fan, management turns on them and blame them,” said Wedderspoon.
He said that instead of providing the basics needed to run power plants effectively, Eskom has started to blame its staff for load-shedding. Staff morale has subsequently hit rock bottom.
As if these problems are not enough, corruption is still rife at Eskom, and the patronage networks are alive and well.
Eskom recently announced that two employees and a supplier were arrested and charged with fraud, theft, and corruption related to the disappearance of spares at Tutuka power station valued at hundreds of millions of rand.
Eskom’s investigations have also established the existence of a syndicate responsible for the theft of approximately R100 million worth of fuel oil per month from the power station.
Rossouw said he does not see the light at the end of the tunnel. “We’re definitely going to have to get used to being in the dark,” he said.