Wage protests threaten to send SA into deep power rationing Eskom warns

WAGE-related protests threaten to send South Africa into intensified loadshedding, said Eskom which reported disruptions to its fleet yesterday.

There were protests at nine power stations and other operating facilities by employees who had embarked on unprotected strike action following a deadlock in wage negotiations, the utility said in a statement today.

“These protests included incidents of intimidation of working employees and blockading of roads leading to power stations and other facilities, inhibiting the free flow of personnel and commodities required for the generation of electricity and smooth operations,” it said.

Eskom is currently implementing stage two loadshedding, rationing 2,000MW of power in a phased manner across the country.

Emergency generation reserves had been depleted quicker than they could be replaced as a result of the disruption, said Eskom.

Eskom’s last wage deal was in 2018 when it signed a three-year deal in which pay increases were as much as 7.5% annually.

“Eskom cautions the public that should these criminal acts of intimidation persist or spread, this would increase the risk of operational disturbances and the implementation of loadshedding at higher stages,” the utility said. “Ahead of these disturbances, the power system had already been under considerable strain for a while, with Stage 2 loadshedding currently being implemented.”