Eskom’s Medupi ‘fiasco’ will hit poorest households – Agang

2013-07-10 08:50

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A six month delay in electricity generation at the Medupi power station in Limpopo, will hit the country’s poorest households the hardest, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has said.

“The Eskom Medupi fiasco comes at a time when electricity prices are already rocketing. Ordinary citizens cannot afford to pay more only to see more blackouts,” Ramphele said in a statement yesterday.

“The poorest households will be hardest hit with the double whammy of rising prices and likely job losses in key energy intensive sectors of the economy,” she said.

Ramphele said the failure to bring Medupi on line would affect on the competitiveness of business and the country as a whole.

“The blame must be shared, between the minister, Eskom management and the contractors Hitachi and Alstom, but having boldly stated ‘heads would roll’ Minister [Malusi] Gigaba is now backing away from holding management accountable.

“The fact is that, yet again, ordinary South Africans will face the impact of blatant and corrupt deals in government, this time Hitachi funding the ANC through its investment arm, Chancellor House,” she said.

On Monday, Eskom said the Medupi power station would probably start generating electricity only in the second half of 2014, and blamed technical problems for the delay.

It also said construction of the power station was expected to cost R105 billion instead of the expected R91.2bn.

However, the Free Market Foundation said in a statement it expected the construction to cost even more, at R145bn, and for Medupi to start producing electricity closer to the fourth quarter of 2014.

The Democratic Alliance has asked for the contractual agreements between Eskom and the companies working on the construction of Medupi to be made available to Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee.

This would allow MPs to put in place measures which will prevent any further delays at the plant, Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Michael said in a statement.

Michael said while it was well-known that labour disputes between contractors and workers at Medupi had hampered progress and caused delays, “shoddy production at the plant by some contractors” had added to the crisis.

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