Stage 4 load-shedding continued into the weekend because an unlawful strike is causing disruptions at coal facilities.

Stage 4 load-shedding has been prolonged till Sunday by Eskom, which has also refrained from releasing a system prognosis for the upcoming week. Stage 4 load-shedding was first enforced at 11:00 on Friday, June 24, after an unlawful strike led to the loss of further coal output.

After unplanned unavailability across the fleet rose to above 18 000 MW, the COO Jan Oberholzer said the decision to implement and maintain 4 000 MW of rotational cuts was made. This decision was taken in part as a result of a decision to ramp-down some coal generators as a result of resource constraints triggered by the labour action.

On Friday afternoon, the total amount of power that was unavailable was above 20,000 MW.

However, Rhulani Mathebula, who is acting in the role of generation executive, stated that there is no proof of sabotage at any of the seven impacted stations.

In order to conserve fuel stores at the Ankerlig and Gourikwa open-cycle gas turbines, which had been utilised extensively during the week, the decision to increase and prolong load-shedding was also made. This decision was made in order to protect diesel stockpiles.

The percentage of available gasoline at Ankerlig, which can only be replenished by road tankers, has dropped to 30 percent after all nine units were utilised to their full potential on Thursday. On Friday, production at the power station was paused in order to save the fuel that was still available.

Reports of planned strike action have been received from Matla, Duvha, Hendrina, Arnot, Camden, Matimba, and Medupi. These reports were sometimes accompanied by acts of intimidation, such as threatening telephone messages and the hurling of stones.

At each location, it was reported that groups of between fifty and one hundred workers were involved in the action, and they were preventing hundreds of other Eskom staff and contractors from entering the power facilities.

Because of the threats that were delivered to their smartphones, many of the workers and contractors had also made the decision to stay away.

The utility declared a deadlock in wage talks earlier in the week, which led to the beginning of the industrial unrest. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) stated that Eskom management should “take full responsibility for the protests that are taking place at power stations across the country.” These protests are taking place at power stations all over the country.

According to a post made by Numsa on the organization’s official Twitter account, “They arrogantly collapsed pay discussions on Tuesday and today employees are outraged.”

The issue, which has been brought to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) for urgent conciliation, affects around 30 000 Eskom staff who come under the central bargaining forum (CBF).

Human resources general manager The allegations made by Numsa that Eskom had walked out of the wage discussions, which Thulane Ngele characterised as incorrect,

According to Ngele, a stalemate was declared once it became clear that the viewpoints of the parties were so drastically different from one another that there was no possibility of a settlement being reached inside the CBF itself.

It is possible for one of the parties or all of the parties to declare a deadlock when there is no chance that the parties will be able to meet one another.

As a result, “we declared a deadlock in order for us to go on to the next part of the process, which is the CCMA conciliation process,” he added, adding that it has requested that an accelerated procedure be put into effect.

“We have requested them for an expedited procedure, which they generally give, and we hope that we are going to have conversations with trade unions to try to settle this specific disagreement next week at some point in time.”

Workers at Eskom, who provide an important service, do not have the legal right to go on strike, and the company has successfully obtained a court interdict to prevent them from doing so.

According to Oberholzer, Eskom did have mechanisms in place to sanction employees who participated in illegal industrial action.

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