The following is a quote from a release sent out by South Africa's Official Opposition party, the DA (Democratic Alliance):
"Top Story: Medupi meltdown is catastrophe waiting to happen
The DA can confirm that confidential Eskom documents in our possession reveal potential for disaster. In a press release by Cobus Schmidt MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Energy, details of correspondence between senior Eskom executives, including confidential e-mails and memos, revealed that the national energy suppliers' proposed Medupi power plant could precipitate an irreversible environmental catastrophe. In the mean time Eskom's senior management appear to be sitting idly bypassing to Schmidt, privileged e-mail correspondence between a DA source and Eskom executives, including Vule Nemukula, General Manager of Eskom Procurement and Supply Chain Management, revealed that following completion of Medupi, the projected future water needs for the area could be up to 500% of the current usage level.
The Shadow Minster confirmed that this was revealed by the same credible source who, earlier in the month documented in clinical detail how Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga had received warnings of an impending coal crisis just six months prior to the rolling blackouts of early 2008.The seriousness of the situation was confirmed by the DA expert source who warned that if the current plan for supplying water to the plant was implemented, Hartebeestpoort Dam "will be pumped dry in 90 days during winter."
Schmidt added: "Our source also reveals that the cost of running the power station will be far higher than budgeted for – implying further energy rate increases to make up for Eskom's poor budgeting."
"Shockingly, the current projected capital costs include only a single pipe without backup – leading to concerns not just over financing, but also how seriously Eskom is considering safety issues," said Schmidt.
The DA source further described how irreversible environmental damage would ensue if the power plant sucked up water from the surrounding areas, including Hartebeestpoort Dam. Furthermore, it was found that the Eskom contingency plan of pumping water from boreholes, will "only last for a short period and would not be sustainable."
In his statement, Schmidt disclosed that the DA is in possession of a confidential memo sent to Mr. Maroga, Eskom's CEO. Schmidt raised serious concerns about an array of glaring mistakes made in the procurement of physical capital for the Medupi power plant."Once again, it is unclear whether Mr. Maroga has taken any appropriate steps to act on this information" a concerned Schmidt added.
Some of the key findings of the report include:• The failure of the negotiation process preceding procurement to follow International Best Practice• Eskom's commitment to a detailed boiler specification without first securing a coal source• Scarcity of water at the power station site and the failure to budget for further costs for coal washing, transportation and water• The budgeting omission of physical capital for maintenance costs and TCO (total cost of ownership).
Schmidt concluded by saying that government needed to be held accountable for the mismanagement that has endangered precious ecological systems as well as threatened to waste hundreds of millions of Rands.Schmidt committed to immediate DA action, by saying that he would submit questions to the Minister on these shocking revelations and demand answers in writing from the Minister and the CEO of Eskom."
Quoting the Democratic Alliance on this issue does not imply that our service in any way endorses their view. We have not verified their facts. This quotation is made to promote access to information which may be in the public interest.