Overseas contractors blamed for Eskom delays

Overseas contractors blamed for Eskom delays

2014-11-28 13:31

Cape Town - Steps had been taken to rectify power supply problems related to Eskom including the building of two large coal-fired power stations but these projects had been delayed because some of the international contractors had let South Africa down, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said in a debate on the crisis this week.

Ending the debate sought by the Democratic Alliance, Brown said if everything had gone according to plan Medupi and Kusile power stations “should have been delivering by now”. If that had happened “we would not be having this debate”.

Acknowledging that the big power projects were running “three to four years late”, Brown said there were a number of reasons for the massive delays. “Some of the international contractors we hired… let us down very badly. We lost many months as we tried to rectify these mistakes,” said Brown.

Work stoppages “as the result of strikes” had also delayed the build programme, she said.

In contrast to other ANC MPs who spoke in the debate – who did not acknowledge that there was a power problem – Brown also accepted that government “has to share … the blame” for the load shedding and the tough environment for the provision of power going forward. “We have to accept that we probably took the decision to build the power stations later than we should have,” said Brown.

The decision to build the two stations was taken in 2004.

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She appealed to opposition parties to work with government to resolve the problems at Eskom. “This is not the time for blame,” she said, suggesting instead that it was time to “pull together as a nation”.

Brown said “as we speak” Eskom executives were at “a breakaway” defining the details of a plan to stabilise the power situation. She expected the first unit at Medupi to provide power - some 800 megawatts - in the middle of next year, but she acknowledged that “the next few years will be tough”.

Mmusi Maimane, the DA parliamentary leader, said the crisis “is holding the economy to ransom and making a mockery of our attempts to create jobs”. The DA believed that the only way to solve the crisis was with greater participation from the private sector and the introduction of independent power producers.

The solution did not lie in state-sponsored mega projects such as the Rosatom nuclear deal with Russia. “This will undoubtedly suffer from the same cost and time escalations that have been seen at Medupi and Kusile, and leave our people in the dark for years to come.”
He called for the Independent System and Market Operator Bill (ISMO) “that was first committed to by President Jacob Zuma in 2010 and again this year … and table it before parliament in the coming year”.

Themba Godi, African People’s Convention leader, said: “The events at Eskom are of concern to all South Africans.” The capacity to provide an uninterrupted supply of energy is critical to the economy and households. The energy challenges of South Africa were not just about keeping the lights on, he said, but providing universal access of energy “to the slums and rural areas”.

Deirdre Carter, Cope MP, said the only difference between South Africa and the Titanic – which sank in 1912 – was that “the Titanic’s lights were on when it sank”.

  • Mike Heyns - 2014-11-28 13:43

    Typical anc government.! ALWAYS someone else, NEVER them!!

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 14:31

      “Some of the international contractors we hired… let us down very badly. We lost many months as we tried to rectify these mistakes,” said Brown. SHE IS REFERRING TO HITACHI POWER AFRICA.Who delayed the project with faulty welding to the boilers.And Hitachi Power Africa was ZANC owned through Chancellor House,the ZANC investment company. Brown is blaming her own investment company Chancellor House

      Japie JJ du Toit - 2014-11-28 15:17

      Damn Mike that was my line - you are so right - there is absolute no bloody accountability in goverment - the gov is shifters pass the ball -

      Gary Guy - 2014-11-30 21:21

      “This is not the time for blame,” she said - while blaming international contractors (who have been correctly identified as ANC stooges).

  • Justin Pretorius - 2014-11-28 13:44

    Deirdre Carter is spot on!!

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 14:37

      Why are Medupi and Kusile 4 years late?Because of violent labour strikes and faulty welding to the boilers,the boilers that Hitachi Power Africa[ZANC owned] had a R38 Billion contract for.That resulted in them flying in overseas welders to do it over.And adding to cost.Was our tax money then used to increase the R38 Billion contract to Hitachi.?Google it Proudly brought to you by the ZANC Alliance

  • Mike Heyns - 2014-11-28 13:45

    Amazing how they "slip in" the Russian deal which probably is "taken out of context" and still only "window shopping"! Sorry China, France, USA, others......

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 14:35

      Mike ,can you believe that Brown is blaming "international contractors we hired"?.She is referring to none other than Hitachi Power Africa,who messed up the welding through BEE welders.They then had to fly in welders from overseas to do it over.AND HITACHI POWER AFRICA WAS OWNED BY THE ZANC INVESTMENT COMPANY CHANCELLOR HOUSE

      Mike Heyns - 2014-11-28 14:56

      @M-It-S: What amazes me though is that the headlines read: "Eskom may introduce load shedding this weekend"! Sorry, but that is NO news!! Rather give us an article that reads: "Eskom is planning (?) to have NO LOAD SHEDDING for the next three days!!" NOW THAT is what I call a headline!!

  • Todays Realist - 2014-11-28 13:49

    The ANC applying the Blame Game! If the Project Engineers for ESKOM were doing their job then this should not have occurred. I believe the major delays were caused by the ANC fingers in the pie Welding come to mind and SA Striking Unions and it will take a lot to convince me otherwise that overseas contractors caused the delays.

      Mike Hall - 2014-11-30 14:53

      In Eskom you get promoted for being bad project Managers

  • Mike Heyns - 2014-11-28 13:49

    Mdupi and Kuseli power stations (still awaiting completion and operation) are constructed at R.5tril. Between both they should generate 10GW of electricity. As per the announcement of our “dear” number spear, a third coal generating plant, Coal 3, will be fast forwarded now. (Another R250bn?) These coal plants are expected to sustain for approx. 50 years. He also claimed that SA would not require to look for alternative sources for another 11 years (according to professionals, even much later). This was despite clear warnings over its cost and strong arguments from both the National Planning Commission and the Department of Energy over the past year that this should be delayed. Now 3 months later we urgently require nuclear energy at R1trn for generating also 10GW. Expected sustainability slightly longer by 10 years over coal (if maintained according to the manuals).The expected final cost for the nuclear energy is at R8trn (nuclear Physicists , which, looking at escalations of other plants not even completed, started about the same). Though nuclear power has less “carbon emissions”, do NOT expect a discount on the taxes still to be invoked! In fact, it is been widely announced that the tariffs will double when in operation! Electricity costs (for me) over the past 3 years escalated over 100%, without any power stations completed. Yet, we wonder why the JSE (by Investors) has been paying the brunt over the past two weeks with a record high debt deficit?

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 14:43

      Mike.Today it was announced that the Kusile Power Station will be supplied with coal by Inyozi Coal. Inyozi Coal,a BEE company with Anglo,Pamodzi[of Aurora fame] and Lithemba Investments as shareholders.I am not sure about the exact shares each hold,but Ngoako Ramathlodi,mining minister,is also a shareholder in Lithemba.

      Mike Heyns - 2014-11-28 14:52

      @M-It-S: All I can say is: "HAK, HAK, hier kom groter K..K!"

  • Jason Peter de Reuck - 2014-11-28 13:51

    Now that they can't blame apartheid for their stupidity they blame overseas contractors .... Who's next ? The pope.

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 15:03

      Overseas contractors=Hitachi Power Africa that was ZANC owned through Chancellor House.They had the R38 Billion contract for the boilers,they messed up the welding and had to fly in overseas welders to do it over

      Les Thorpe - 2014-11-30 14:51

      Next time it will be the DEVIL. Then ALIENS (extra terrestrial type). Then ALIENS (ZIMBABWE type). Then DEMONS (of biblical origin). Then the DA ..... Then ......

  • Fred Smith - 2014-11-28 13:56

    I have worked for some of these multinationals and in my experience, they are generally very professional and fanatical when it comes to completing projects on time. This presupposes that all other parties hold up their respective ends of the deal. Indeed; when the customer fails to keep up his end and the supplier is hit by multiple delays from the customer's side, things can get very pear shaped indeed. You might liken it to missing a dental appointment then finding that you cannot get another appointment for 3 weeks. So fine, blame the suppliers lady but most of us understand how this blame game works and who's most likely responsible.

      Made-inthe South - 2014-11-28 15:04

      Overseas contractors=Hitachi Power Africa that was ZANC owned through Chancellor House.They had the R38 Billion contract for the boilers,they messed up the welding and had to fly in overseas welders to do it over

  • Chris McComb - 2014-11-28 14:09

    other ANC MPs who spoke in the debate – who did not acknowledge that there was a power problem... Go figure...

  • Cina - 2014-11-28 14:14

    It is all the anc fault if they didn't got rid of all the qualified engineers and used local contractors this would not have happened. But no they always have to enrich themselves and overseas contractors. And why the hell are they on a breakaway they could have done that at their offices but who cares we the public pays for it.

  • Marshall G Gouws - 2014-11-28 14:16

    Now that the apartheid blaming card is getting tacky,they decided on a new approach and that's let's blame overseas contractors just to appease the nation's anger..tell me folks will you stand by me if I assassinate these clowns one by one starting with number one and I need someone to provide me with a sniper riffle

  • Eugene Trollip - 2014-11-28 14:21

    We should just paint parliament with stripes and charge an entrance fee. And no tamed animals please - I hate it.

      Les Thorpe - 2014-11-30 14:55

      Agreed. Best circus act I've seen in a long time. But don't blame the animals.

  • Lpk Pmc - 2014-11-28 14:23


  • Mark Crozier - 2014-11-28 14:57

    Three to four years late is INEXCUSABLE. Heads should have rolled, we are now suffering because of these idiots. More load shedding this weekend. We work hard all week and then have to deal with this nonsense over the weekend when all we want to do is relax. And people still vote for these morons. Sies!

  • Andrew Mackie - 2014-11-28 15:20

    The blame is once again used as an excuse for lack of forward planning and the greed of government reaping the benefit of huge profits from Eskom in the prior years. The real cause for the delays lie with bad and or poor project management. Now we the paying public have to pay for these blunders as well as for the non payers and the illegal connections who steal power with little or no policing of these thieves. Add to this are high price hikes for lack of revenue due to lower useage and inflation due to the delays in finalization of the project. Worst of all is the effect of all this is the tremendous damage to the ecconomy which in turn is unable to create jobs. Lack of work opportunities also leads to a higher crime rate for many who cannot find work and choose this route to feed familiesand all the rest of needs they may have. This is nothing more than another good story to tell ANC government.

  • Leonard Rom - 2014-11-28 16:01

    ahhahahahahahahaha lol the problem is u steal toooooo much u cant take the register to

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2014-11-28 16:41

    Blame the contractors, apartheid, rain, elves and fairies and everyone else except yourselves. Pathetic

  • Leijn Tissink - 2014-11-28 16:51

    like this statement" In contrast to other ANC MPs who spoke in the debate – who did not acknowledge that there was a power problem " this reflects what the public already knows i.e. that zanc mp prefers denying the problem in order not to upset lootfreely house and jeopardise their cushy places at the pig's trough

  • Cindz Felix - 2014-11-28 20:08

    What happened to contract management?

  • William Ronga - 2014-11-28 22:02

    Always blame someone !!!!! You guys are really tools!!!!!

  • rovambira - 2014-11-28 23:58

    Pathetic, over budget, years late, incompetent local management due to lack of expertise, unproductive labour force, pathetic!!

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2014-11-29 12:42

    Another ANC troll that believes we are all equally stupid. But I am glad the DA asked questions anyway.

  • Reg Young - 2014-11-29 14:29

    The caption to the photograph of Lynne Brown accompanying this article says "(Western Cape Premier Lynn Brown") ------ sometimes NEWS 24 makes me feel I just want to hang my head & cry!!

  • Mike Hall - 2014-11-30 14:56

    Could the Minister also give the public an update on the Ingula Pump Storage Scheme- which for some reason not in mention-They are also way behind schedule as writing with no end delivery in site

  • Arthur Bollier - 2014-12-02 10:26

    This lady has no clue of project management, contractual management and does not now the difference between volt and watt! BEE alone is responsible for this debacle which costs the taxpayers billions of rand!!!!!!!

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