Premier slams ‘saboteurs’

2013-09-08 14:00

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane slammed the power outages that left large parts of Joburg in the dark for more than three days as “economic crimes and acts of sabotage”.

In an exclusive interview on Friday, a ­furious Mokonyane said: “This is an economic offence. For anyone to tamper with key points, it means you were out to sabotage the economy, not the City of Johannesburg, but this country. This is not just an ordinary act of frustration; it is an act of sabotage.”

Mokonyane, who has a generator at her official house in Bryanston, said she had ­received frantic calls from people affected by the blackouts.

“We have received calls from captains of industry, we have received calls from ordinary people, we have received calls from daycare centres, and we have received calls and emails from people who run frail-care institutions. All of them had assumed that it was just a technical fault. Everybody is complaining.”

City Power said the outages were caused by technicians who went on a wildcat strike after the power utility informed them that it was implementing a new shift system to prevent employees claiming excessive ­overtime pay.

Managing director Sicelo Xulu accused striking technicians of switching off substations as an act of revenge, affecting 20% of the city. They received about 30 000 calls.

Affected individuals and companies could lodge claims, he said, but they would only be paid if negligence could be proven against the company.

Five of City Power’s 10 substations were fully operational.

The remaining five were operating partially, he said, adding that the police have interviewed several employees, including technicians, and were formulating criminal charges.

Power outages in Gauteng

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