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Is sabotage to blame for the delay at Medupi?

by , 09 July 2013

After Eskom's announcement yesterday that further delays have hit its Medupi plant, news is emerging that sabotage of the project is to blame. Now Eskom claims it's seeking financial reimbursement for the delays at the new power plant. This setback brings with it a higher risk of power shortages, a reality that we're all too familiar with. Let's see what's going on…

Earlier today, the accusation emerged that the contractors working on Eskom’s new coal-fired power station, Medupi have sabotaged its timely completion.

Could construction firms be intentionally hindering the Medupi project?

The National Union of Metalworkers of South African (NUMSA) claim “the project was being purposely delayed” as contractors profited from this outcome, reports IOL.

General Secretary of NUMSA, Irvin Jim, says “something’s gone badly wrong at Medupi,” reports iAfrica. He believes sabotage may be at the core of the delays as construction firms profit with the work being prolonged.

But Eskom announced it’ll “move to claw back money from major contractors responsible” for the numerous delays at Medupi, reports BDLive.

Eskom claim it has performance penalties in place with contractors, but that’s not going to keep the country’s lights on. These penalties “can take years to resolve” as contractors will fight it every step of the way as they’ve “already made profits,” adds BDLive.

Amidst the controversy comes a stark warning from economists about the six month delay at Medupi, notes SABC. They claim it “will cost the country billions of rands”.

Chris Hart, chief strategist of Investment Solutions says “from an economic point of view, there will be constrained growth,” adds SABC.

If the construction of Medupi had gone according to plan, it would already be operational. It was meant to finish late last year. Then the deadline was postponed “to December this year,” adds IOL. And now its completion is even further away.

With public confidence in Eskom generally low, is anyone surprised by the mess that’s surrounding the Medupi plant? A striving country shouldn’t have to put up with blackouts.

Is sabotage to blame for the delay at Medupi?
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