Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has conceded that the on an off labour strikes at the Medupi power station is affecting the completion date. The Minister says more options will be considered to meet the December 2013 deadline.
These include making more money available to increase workers. Eskom announced a three-month shut down resulting from seemingly unending wildcat strikes.
The multi-billion rand station was initially scheduled to start providing power later this year.
Gigaba says the country's existing power stations cannot cope with the demand. Medupi was meant to provide some relief. But since construction started, it has been marred by worker strikes. To resolve these, Eskom this week halted construction. The work stoppage may compromise the set deadline.
Gigaba says they're looking into measures to minimize the effects. “We will need more man hours on site to recover lost time and to ensure that the building process can be able to make up for the weeks that have been lost during the strikes,” says Gigaba.
Eskom has urged South Africans to use electricity sparingly. Eskom Chairsperson Zola Tsotsi says: “The situation is that we have been trying to make the public understand that there's a certain way of using electricity which is efficient, currently most of the public who use electricity do not know to use it effectively.”
With the country facing never ending power challenges, it remains to be seen when the Medupi power station will be completed and provide the envisioned relief.