Eskom’s Abraham Masango resigns hours after being suspended

They say he resigned because of “continuous harassment and threats”.

Eskom’s group capital division boss Abram Masango was suspended Friday morning over allegations of corruption.

Few hours later he announced his resignation from the power utility.

His lawyers said Masango’s resignation is immediate.

“After more than 20 dedicated years as a loyal and committed senior Executive of Eskom, Mr Abram Masango, the highly respected whistle-blower who exposed the rot and corruption within the power utility, has resigned with immediate effect,” the lawyers said in a statement.

They said the reason he resigned was because of “continuous harassment, threats and victimisation”.

They said his suspension showed that Eskom was desparate “to remove him from the organisation no matter what”.

The power utility said there were “various allegations of impropriety” against Masango stemming from the construction of Kusile Power Station in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga.

“Whilst we recognise his rights to be presumed innocent, however, given the serious nature of the allegations made against him and the seniority of his position in Eskom, the Eskom management took a decision to place him on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation,” said Eskom.

(edited by MLM)

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Greenpeace calls for Govt action as Mpumalanga air ranks world’s dirtiest

The province is home to a cluster of twelve coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts owned and operated by Eskom.

The South African government is being called to spring into action following a report that shows Mpumalanga’s air ranks as the world’s dirtiest.

The report by Greenpeace follows one released previously of eMalahleni air being the most polluted in the world.

The environmental lobby group says air pollution is a global health crisis and up to 95% of the world’s population is “breathing unsafe air”.

“Coal kills, and we strongly oppose any further postponements from complying with air quality regulations and demands that all coal-fired power stations that don’t comply with the existing air quality regulations be decommissioned on an accelerated timeline,” the group says.

South Africa is a significant global hotspot with its high concentration of coal power stations and has weak air pollution standards, it says.

“Our Government urgently needs to come up with an action plan that protects millions of people, instead of dirty coal power stations,” the group’s Melita Steele said.

“The government should also set up an action plan with concrete steps, measures and deadlines to make sure that air pollution levels in high priority areas comply with existing regulations,” she said.

Greenpeace wants the government to add no new coal-fired power stations in the national electricity plan and unit 5 and 6 of Kusile coal power plant to be cancelled.

Also they want 50 percent of current coal-fired power stations to be decommissioned by 2030 “in line with the IPCC Special Report on 1.5” .

The list of the largest air polluters in the world includes South Africa’s coal-fired power plants here in Mpumalanga, Germany and India, and a total of nine coal powered plants and industrial clusters in China.

Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Paris, Dubai and Tehran also feature high in the ranking due to transport-related emissions.

But compared to many other countries, South Africa is said to have weak Minimum Emission Standards.

All of Eskom’s coal-powered plants have been found to not comply with Minimum Emission Standards.

In 2015, Eskom was granted a five year postponement from complying with MES. In 2018, Eskom has again applied for postponements for nitrogen oxide compliance for 16 of its 19 power plants.

“Because South Africa’s coal-belts are hidden from view for the majority of South Africans, it can be easy to pretend that they don’t actually exist.

“The reality is that coal extraction and burning has devastating impacts on the people living in the area. This satellite data now confirms that there is nowhere to hide. Eskom’s coal addiction in Mpumalanga means that millions of people living in Johannesburg and Pretoria are also impacted by the pollution from coal, said Steele.

(edited by MLM)

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Small businesses adopt solar energy as the way to go

With ample roof space and large daily energy usage, they are a perfect case study for the cost-saving benefits of solar power.

Small businesses across the province are opting for solar energy as the new way to go.

Sola Future Energy chief executive officer Dominic Wills says that retail centres in small towns require 500 kilovolts or more to operate and have registered substantial cost-savings through the use of solar power.

He said a lot of businesses in these areas were benefiting from investing in solar panels and even lithium-ion batteries which assist in providing these shops with reduced reliance on Eskom.

“The beauty of such a flexible and deployable technology is that it is perfect for small towns in South Africa – and Africa more broadly,” Wills said.

Wills has been involved in implementing solar photovoltaic projects for shopowners since the past 6 years and has been encouraging shopping malls owners to switch from electricity to solar.

His Sola Future Energy company installed a large photovoltaic system on the roof of the Bela-Bela Mall in Warmbaths earlier this year.

The mall is expected to save R1.8 million from electricity each year.

“The project will pay for itself in less than five years, and amounts to a carbon footprint reduction of 1490 tons of carbon dioxide each year for the duration of the system’s lifespan,” Wills says.

“For most shopping centres, a payback period between 3 – 4 years is becoming normal,” he said.

“These examples point to the efficacy of solar PV not only in urban, but also in rural settings,” Wills said.

“The beauty of such a flexible and deployable technology is that it is perfect for small towns in South Africa – and Africa more broadly,” he said.

“Although we tend to calculate the cost savings for businesses based on electricity consumption figures, the actual benefit should include the monetary value of a reduced carbon footprint on the environment,” he added.

(edited by MLM, with Creamer Media’s Engineering News)

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Man who tampers with electricity meters to go to jail or pay R1m fine

People in the area would pay him to do the illegal job for them.

A Free State man identified as ‘Ferreira’ will have to pay Eskom an amount of R1 million or face a jail term.

The man was tampering with electricity meters and Eskom said he was “caught red-handed” in one of the homes last year…

“Following a tip-off‚ Eskom approached the Hawks‚” the power utility said in a statement.

“[The Hawks] investigated the matter and eventually caught Ferreira red-handed on 26 May 2017‚” Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom said not only Ferreira is in trouble but also residents who had hired Ferrera to do the unlawful job were fined hundreds of thousands of rands.

“Customers who had paid Ferreira for his illegal services were charged tamper fines totalling R229 000,” Eskom said.

Eskom is warning residents to not allow anybody to touch any of their installations unless that person has a valid work order form.

“In addition‚ Eskom will never ask for payments to be made into bank accounts other than the one specified on the customers’ official Eskom bills‚” Eskom said.

SEE ALSO: Mkhulu robbed by bogus Eskom employees

(edited by MLM)

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PRET hauls Kusile bosses before DD Mabuza

Power station managers agree to meet PRET leaders at the Premier’s office.

The Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) wants Kusile power station managers to appear before Premier David Mabuza to explain job creation.

Secretary Sunday Mathebula said Kusile power stations had agreed to employ 10 000 young people and they will make this commitment during a meeting in Mabuza’s office a week to come.

This week both Themba Sgudla, who is the group’s president, and Mathebula led a march to the Kusile power station in Delmas, demanding that 16 000 people be employed by the Eskom power station and that hundreds of companies owned by Mpumalanga youths be given tenders there.

The march – called ‘Massive Stay Away’ – was organised to start at the Kusile power station on Monday (20 Nov) and then on Tuesday go to Duvha power station but then the Duvha leg could not happen because Sgudla and other PRET members got arrested during the Monday one at Kusile, spending the night at the Ogies police station.

In a reply to the group, Kusile agrees to meet Sgudla and Mathebula at Mabuza’s office in Riverside, Mbombela next week Wednesday (29 Nov).

RELATED: Witbank duo runs PRET from Govt office

It apologised for a miscommunication that the meeting at Mabuza’s office would be this week Wednesday (22 Nov).

“We note the correspondence from PRET about the meeting at the Premier’s office in Mbombela tomorrow Wednesday 22 November at 3pm. Without hesitation we offer our sincere apologies in advance for a possible miscommunication about the Wednesday meeting,” the company wrote in an e-mail to Mathebula’s PA on Tuesday.

“We have been of the understanding that the meeting at the Premier’s office was for next week Wednesday 29 November. This date affords us sufficient time to provide feedback to the Group Chief Executive about the proceedings of 20th November [meeting] at Kusile and the agreed next steps with the leadership of PRET. Furthermore, it also affords us the opportunity to engage all the Implementers of the programme (e.g. power station managers) and create the required alignment,” the company said.

(edited by ZK)

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