Eskom staff office bound

2007-11-28 00:00

While parts of the province were still plunged in darkness yesterday after an outage caused by storms, Eskom workers were barred from leaving their offices for the day by a national directive.

Mid-Illovo residents were yesterday up in arms after they were left without electricity after Monday night’s storm because by late yesterday much of the Mid-Illovo area and parts of Eston were still without power.

Resident Hugh Smith told The Witness that he was informed that Eskom would not be repairing the faults yesterday as a national directive had been issued that no Eskom vehicles were to be on the road until 4 pm. “We heard that this was to create awareness of road safety and other work-related accidents.”

An irritated Smith said that this seemed ludicrous.

“The employees are being paid normal time for sitting in the office and then will presumably be paid time and a half to do the repairs after hours. In the meantime we sit in the dark.”

Eskom’s national office confirmed this, saying that in a bid to curb the increase in vehicle incidents within Eskom, they embarked on a vehicle safety awareness programme during which all work-related travelling was prohibited for the day, “except travel to and from work and travel due to medical emergencies”.

An Eskom spokesperson told The Witness that they received no complaints about the lack of productivity in terms of faults not being addressed for the day.

“Eskom has seen an unfortunate increase in fatalities from vehicle accidents. Since the beginning of the financial year, seven of the 17 fatalities and 26% of all the lost-time incidents have been vehicle-related. During the last three weeks alone two vehicle-related fatalities occurred.”

The campaign was also launched to prepare staff for travel during the festive season.

Chief executive of Eskom Holdings Jacob Maroga said that no operating condition or urgency of service could justify endangering the life of anyone or causing injury or damage to the environment.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience to customers that may be caused as a result of this vehicle safety enhancement initiative.”

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