Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Power cuts – due to chaos or skills shortage?

By Rhodé Marshall and Celeste Ganga
22 January 2008


With the recent spate of power cuts across the country there has been a debate on what has caused the problem.

Trade union Solidarity believes that the problems at Eskom are caused by maintenance problems. According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the reason for these problems is due to a skills shortage.

“All the facts on ground level show that Eskom cannot do the maintenance work at the power stations quickly enough because there aren’t sufficient technically trained workers to do that,” explains Kleynhans.

Kleynhans adds that Eskom should do enough to recruit skilled workers, train their own people and in turn solve the power problems.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) responded to the statements made by Solidarity saying that the power cuts are not because of a skills shortage because this has always been a problem.

“There is a general problem of skills shortage in the country, not necessarily limited to Eskom. You (Solidarity) must be careful when you talk about skills shortage – you mustn’t create an impression that where the blacks are in a majority there is speaks of an enormous lack of skills and incompetence,” says NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni.

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