Home » Eskom Workers Arrested for Coal Theft and Fraud at Kusile Plant

Eskom Workers Arrested for Coal Theft and Fraud at Kusile Plant

Eskom's Struggle: Coal Theft, Financial Crisis, and Power Generation Woes

by Motoni Olodun

The state-owned electricity company Eskom has said that nine people have been arrested at the Kusile power station in South Africa for allegedly stealing coal and committing fraud.

The suspects include eight weighbridge operators who are not Eskom employees and a coal truck driver. They are accused of processing transactions without the truck entering the plant to offload the coal while invoicing Eskom for the coal that was not delivered.

The arrests followed a joint investigation by the police and Eskom’s security team after receiving a tip-off that coal haulers were bypassing the power station.

Eskom said it expected more arrests to follow as it continues to crack down on coal theft, a critical resource for generating electricity.

The company said the theft of coal was a highly organized criminal activity, and the syndicates involved were being enriched through the illicit trade of the stolen products.

Eskom’s acting general manager for security, Botse Sikhwitshi, said the arrests were a significant step in the fight against crime in Eskom and the country.

“We shall continue in our pursuit to ensure that the perpetrators face the full might of the law,” he said.

The Kusile power station is one of two new mega coal-fired plants Eskom is building to boost its capacity and reduce power cuts. However, both projects have been plagued by delays, cost overruns, and corruption allegations.

Eskom is facing a deep financial crisis, with a debt of more than $30bn (£22bn), and relies on government bailouts to stay afloat. It is also struggling to maintain its aging infrastructure and meet the rising demand for electricity.

The theft of coal adds to Eskom’s woes, as it affects its ability to produce enough power and increases its costs. Last year, Eskom reported losing about 1.3 million tonnes of coal worth $113m (£83m) due to theft and vandalism.

The company has also been accused of mismanaging its coal contracts and paying inflated prices for poor-quality coal from politically connected suppliers.

Coal is the main source of electricity in South Africa, accounting for more than 80% of its generation. However, it also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

The government has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal and increase its share of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. However, this transition faces many challenges, such as funding, regulation, and social impact.

Source: Mining Weekly

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.