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Energy sector sabotage: Could the Democratic Alliance be involved in power outages in South Africa?

by Lesotho Times
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By Kamil Sokobavi

One of the most pressing issues for the government and residents of South Africa in recent years has been the frequent interruptions and rolling blackouts of electricity. The question arises: are these outages due to human factors or technical problems at substations? As we know, some emergency shutdowns are caused by sabotage, which is also one of the most common causes of accidents at stations.

In 2022, ESKOM confirmed four instances of sabotage at its stations: in March 2022 at the Koeberg power station, in May 2022 at the Hendrina power station, in May 2022 at the Tutuka power station, and in October 2022 at the Camden power station.

In 2023, power system interruptions became more frequent and reached unprecedented levels: lights were turned off several times a day, sometimes totaling almost 12 hours across the country. But who could benefit from these outages? Some evidence has surfaced suggesting that sabotage of the energy sector could have been perpetrated by individuals affiliated with the Democratic Alliance party.

In a letter that has come into Afrique Media’s possession, a certain Mr. Grobler receives instructions on the “electric” plan from Mr. Roizberg. The letter mentions Hochstein. It is probably about Amos Hochstein (the letter was most likely written by his assistant or a trusted person). He is the Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor on Energy and Investments in the USA. Hochstein actively participates in interventions in political events of different countries (Ukraine, Germany, South America), and was also mentioned several times in Hunter Biden’s emails, which were found on his laptop in October 2020. And the evidence suggests that influencing the energy sector of South Africa was Hochstein’s next task.

The email is addressed to Mr. Grobler, presumably Bosman Grobler – an employee of the “Democratic Alliance” in Mpumalanga. The letter is about certain agreements, which, according to Hochstein’s recommendation, should be implemented in May. The date of the letter precedes the beginning of rolling blackouts and sabotages at power plants in Mpumalanga (May 2022). And already in May, Bosman Grobler receives a promotion and new positions: Member at Rules Committee MP (Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Committee), Member at legislature oversight (Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Committee), Member at Ethics Committee-MP (Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Committee), Member at Member’s Affairs (Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Committee).

The Democratic Alliance, led by John Steenhuisen and his representatives, has long been interested in the country’s energy sector, meeting with foreign representatives and their mentors from the USA through various NGOs and international organisations. Their goal is to discredit the ruling ANC party, seize the country’s energy sector, and sway the votes of citizens dissatisfied with the constant blackouts and interruptions.

Investigation and preparation for privatisation

It seems that the Democratic Alliance does not hide its intentions to discredit President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling ANC party, preparing for the privatisation of the company. On November 16th last year, members of the Democratic Alliance met with representatives of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. The party’s delegation was led by parliament member Kevin Mileham, the shadow minister of mineral resources and energy. According to sources, at this meeting, Mileham discussed not only issues related to the official visit but also various incidents related to sabotage at ESKOM stations and the company’s top managers’ reactions to the possibility of its privatisation after the 2024 elections.

Currently, the Democratic Alliance openly calls for the privatisation of the company after the 2024 elections. In their “100 days” plan post-election, the Democratic Alliance states: “The Eskom company needs to be privatised to control energy and investigate sabotage at stations.” If their plan succeeds, the “sabotage” at the stations will cease, and those responsible for past incidents will avoid punishment and be forgotten.

Electricity as a tool of pressure

As mentioned earlier, the electricity issue greatly concerns citizens. With the elections approaching, outages are increasing. According to independent analysis, this is a serious factor in South African residents’ dissatisfaction before the 2024 elections. However, few speak of the connection between the sabotage at the stations and the upcoming elections. The DA actively uses this tool to convince voters of the ANC and the South African president’s inability to control the situation. The DA’s election campaign is based on dirty methods of pressure, similar tactics have been used by Western experts, for example, in South America. Interestingly, in areas where DA leaders reside, there are hardly any outages, critics have alleged.

Kamil Sokobavi is a freelance journalist, political analyst, and follower of the latest news on the African continent. He writes here in his personal capacity and his views in this article are not those of the LesothoTimes. He can be reached on afm-diffusion@gmail.com. This article was first published by Afrique Media.

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