News 14.6.2018 02:34 pm

‘Load shedding’ hits Eskom headquarters

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Eskom’s own headquarters in northern Johannesburg lost power on Thursday amid protests for wage increases.

The current strike action happening at Eskom has caused many to worry about whether or not the power utility will be able to keep the lights on across South Africa.

Those worried will probably not get much comfort from the fact that Eskom’s own headquarters have just lost power, Bloomberg reports.

Eskom’s claim that it cannot afford to pay its workers an increase this year has led to picketing at Megawatt Park, their northern Johannesburg headquarters, as well as blocking of entrances at power stations around the country.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe confirmed on Twitter that the head offices had suffered a blackout.

“Power supply has just been ‘mysteriously’ cut off at Eskom head office Megawatt Park,” he tweeted.

READ MORE: Unions to attempt to shut down Eskom in protest at 0% increases

The parastatal said it would consider applying for a court interdict to secure power supply if the strike action got out of hand.

There have been several incidents of employees being intimidated and blocked from entering power stations by protesting workers, who are demanding a salary increase of 15%.

Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe. Picture:
Michel Bega

Labour unions have indicated their members would march to Eskom’s headquarters on Maxwell Drive and hand over a memorandum for the utility’s bosses to consider.

Eskom said the wage dispute should be dealt with by the CCMA, and that since they were providing an essential service, the strike was illegal.

Phakamani Hadebe, who was appointed new CEO of Eskom by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in late May, may be wondering if it was a good idea to take the job.

Corruption scandals, mismanagement and financial trouble have dogged the company for more than a decade. Hadebe is the man who is now responsible for cleaning up the mess.

This includes making tough decisions, such as whether there will be wage increases this year.

Hadebe has insisted Eskom simply cannot afford to offer their workers higher wages.

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