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EXCERPT | 'Sabotage': The month after Koko resigned, unplanned losses spiked

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The cover of 'Sabotage: Eskom Under Siege' (supplied)
The cover of 'Sabotage: Eskom Under Siege' (supplied)

 In his latest book 'Sabotage', News24investigative journalist and author Kyle Cowan examines the role then CEO Matshela Koko's introduction of a card system played in Eskom officials hiding breakdowns to avoid being punished for reporting them. This lead to a period of unreliability. Cowan's book, based on exclusive interviews with Eskom CEO André De Ruyter, Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer, Eskom chairperson Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and other key figures, is a story of conspiracy and subterfuge at South Africa's ailing power utility.

There is an anomaly in Eskom’s performance over the past decade that may hold valuable clues as to why the utility’s power stations are currently experiencing a period of unreliability that is, in the historical context, and even taking into account their age, extreme.

During 2021, while De Ruyter fended off allegations of racism and incompetence, I undertook a challenging but important investigation into this anomaly in an attempt to try to come up with an answer as to why South Africans are so often left in the dark, an answer that the public would be able to understand. It took me and my colleagues at News24 down a rabbit hole into the minutiae of Eskom’s technical performance data so often cloaked in the jargon of opaque key performance indicators.

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