DA: National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure must enforce Eskom interdict and protect power plants

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

The DA has written to the National Police Commissioner, General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola , to request that he activates the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) and deploy the South African Police Service (SAPS) tactical units to enforce the court interdict granted to Eskom against striking workers at its power plants.

Yesterday, Eskom made an alarming admission that the unprotected strike action by Eskom employees at various power stations posing a risk to 4 000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity. This is over and above the fact that the current stage 4 loadshedding is estimated to be costing the country an average of R942 million per day.

The NATJOINTS is empowered to coordinate all security and law enforcement operations throughout the country and is therefore well placed to first anticipate and if necessary, to respond timeously to incidents of criminality and disorder when they occur.

With reported incidents of intentional interference in the operations of the power plants, the actions of the striking workers now border on criminality as they are disrupting the proper functioning of key national infrastructure.

Despite Eskom securing a court interdict to stop the unprotected strike action at its power plants, some employees have either blocked entrances to these facilities for their colleagues who want to continue working or they are sending threatening messages asking them to stay at home.

Deliberately interfering with critical infrastructure is a direct threat to the country’s national security. It is for this reason that the DA is calling on NATJOINTS to be convened as a matter of urgency to effect an operational plan that would address this growing threat of sabotage.

The actions of the striking Eskom employees are not random acts of criminality, but a coordinated effort to bring electricity generation to a standstill and trigger a possible grid collapse.

To address South Africa’s electricity crisis permanently, the DA reiterates our call for an emergency plan that would expedite the deployment of proper maintenance, lowest cost source-agnostic private sector involvement and the transmission infrastructure needed to support them. Pursuing a ‘whole of society’ emergency approach to the power crisis would represent an incremental step towards the realisation of what is required to fix what we have to keep the lights on for businesses, industry and ordinary citizens.