Electricity minister dismisses Andre de Ruyter’s Kusile corruption allegations
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has dismissed former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s allegations that corruption is to blame for problems at the Kusile power station.
De Ruyter told eNCA’s Annika Larson that a corrupt tender awarded to Hitachi Power Africa to provide Medupi and Kusile with boiler units is to blame for the severity of load-shedding.
He said there was “substantial manipulation of design criteria” to ensure Hitachi, which was in a joint venture with Chancellor House, won the R38 billion boiler unit tender.
The boiler units were not fit for their purpose at the power stations as the exhaust gas temperature from the boiler supplied by Hitachi was too high.
It contributed to the collapse of a flue duct at Kusile, which resulted in three operating units being taken offline.
“If the contract had initially been awarded correctly, without corruption, we would not have had the severity of load-shedding we have right now,” De Ruyter said.
“That still is hugely problematic for us in terms of design defects that are the direct result of the corrupt award of the boiler contract – and we are still battling with that.”
Ramokgopa, who visited the power station, said he was informed about many technical issues at the power station.
He said the challenges at Kusile are technical problems which have “nothing to do with so-called corruption”.
“The units which have gone out as a result of the chimney’s structural integrity and the issues around the design component have nothing to do with corruption,” he said.
“They have everything to do with technical designs. There are significant modifications that they are making, and I am happy with the modifications they are proposing.”
Based on the management version, the five Kusile units that are out of operation have nothing to do with corruption.
The electricity minister admitted that Kusile had performed particularly poorly, with five units out and unable to produce power to stave off load-shedding.
However, Ramokgopa is confident that four of the five units will be online by 24 December, while the last unit will be operational by February 2024.
He said he was very happy with the Kusile management team’s proposed modifications to the power station’s flue gas desulphurisation system to resolve the problems.
These modifications will ensure that the problems at Kusile don’t recur, Ramokgopa said.