South African Electricity Supply Infrastructure Crumbles as Only 16% of Blacks in Soweto Pay for Electricity

Only sixteen percent of blacks in the sprawling South African township of Soweto, Johannesburg, pay for their electricity, while South Africa’s electricity supply infrastructure is rapidly crumbling due to incompetent Third World management and lack of maintenance.

Ash build-up at the Lethabo power station, Free State.
Ash build-up at the Lethabo power station, Free State.

The situation is so dire that local media have now reported that the government has been briefed on emergency measures in the event of a total national electricity blackout.

The extent of the problem was graphically revealed when late last year, shock photographs—taken in secret by one of the employees of the state-run Electricity Supply Commission (Eskom)—were leaked of one of the country’s major power stations.

The pictures, taken at the coal-fired Lethabo power station, located in the northern Free State, showed that the interior of the plant had been consumed in mountains of ash. The ash deposits, located underneath the boilers in which the coal is burned, are supposed to be sucked out by hopper units and transported by conveyor belt to an ash stacker.

However, lack of maintenance caused the hoppers to become blocked. An Eskom spokesman admitted to media that the “power station had been run very hard and maintenance has previously been deferred,” and said that some of the “pipes may have to be replaced and it may take months to have the stacker and the rest of the system fully functional again.”








According to a report in local media, the power station—which provides 10 percent of South Africa’s electricity supply—had “been a month coming” and that employees had “repeatedly warned of impending critical equipment failures. But the warnings appear to have been ignored, resulting in conveyor belts used to transport ash failing.”

According to the report, a leak of highly toxic acid from the spillage catchment system had compounded the problem, and this has yet to be repaired, leading to mounting fears that the acid is seeping into the region’s underground-water system.

Lethabo is not the only power station to be literally crumbling. In November 2014, a silo at the Majuba power station, located in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, literally collapsed, destroying the coal feeder system.


Above and below: The Majuba power station collapse.

021114 Beeldnuus Majuba power station Majuba power-station, in Mpunalanga The Majuba loss was caused by damage to the central coal miningweekly coal storageon on of the silo on Saturday. Foto Denzil Maregele Story: Carryn-Ann

Meanwhile, other reports have revealed that only 16 percent of the township of Soweto (population, 1.3 million) actually pay their electricity bills, and have run up a four billion Rand debt.

The Soweto arrears date from 2003 and cover about 150,000 households directly supplied by Eskom, with 70,000 of these on prepaid systems. Of the 80,000 Soweto households without prepaid meters, only one in six pays for the electricity it uses.

The black refusal to pay for electricity is not limited to Soweto: the municipalities of Ngwathe, Dihlabeng, and Maluti-a-Phofung in the Free State, are collectively second-in-line in the non-payment ratings, and together owe more than R700-million to Eskom.

The few remaining white areas, of course, pay in full—and extra—to cover this shortfall, and then pay once again through taxation. The National Treasury has recently announced that it will be giving Eskom another R10-billion in June as part of a “financial aid package.” Whites in South Africa make up a disproportionately large number of individual and business taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg-based City Press newspaper has reported that the country’s “cabinet had been briefed by Eskom about the risk of a total national electricity blackout.”

According to that newspaper, Eskom had warned government it had no option but to continue “load shedding,” (deliberate and scheduled power cuts) because they could not “afford a total blackout.”

Eskom sources told City Press that a national blackout was a “very significant possibility for the foreseeable future” and that the situation is steadily getting worse.

Eskom should be able to generate 43,300MW of power on a 24-hour basis. However, on a good day, the power utility only produces 71 percent of its generation capacity owing to faults at its power stations—and the need for maintenance is critical.

“Lately, according to the utility’s own graphs, they have been operating at 65 percent on most days, the sources said, adding that Eskom was “standing at the edge of the precipice” and that “if two power stations experienced breakdowns without warning, we would be in deep trouble.

“And it is not unrealistic. Have you seen what Eskom’s power stations look like? The fact that more incidents haven’t taken place is a miracle.”

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  1. I am surprised they are not begging the Big White Bwana to take charge again. I wonder if all those liberal Politicians, actors, Pop stars etc in the West who campaigned so vigorously for Black majority rule think for a single second about all the rape, murder, corruption, poverty and think it might have been better under the old Apartheid regime.

    1. Its such a same that so many people believe in the present government, and have let this happen over the years. did they not think this would become a crisis.
      Shame on you President Zuma and your Party.

  2. Wouldn’t it be betterto use the R10 million towards subsidising solar panels? Most people aren’t home during the day time, so the excess enegry can go back into the grid and we’ll have enegry to avoid load shedding! (On sunny days)

    1. This was just rejected by the ANC cabinet , it took 4 years for this new energy bill to be drafted and immediately rejected. Eskom is the cash cow of the govt and short term pocket lining instead of long term planning is our govt’s modus operandi

    2. With the amount of money Eskimo has wasted, South Africa would’ve been able to to run on solar and renewable energy 5x over.

  3. I did a lot of maintenance on the mines and these specific power stations, mostly on the blowers and extraction fan motors that can be seen in the pictures.
    This was inevitable. And we predicted this 22 years ago.
    The white engineers and CEO’s were retrenched and replaced with Affirmative action employees.
    These new recruits then saw the huge budgets which they had to work with and that were meant for Maintenance over the next few years, and started buying themselves expensive cars, houses and producing even more children, with endless parties for family and friends.
    Now there’s no more knowledge or cash left for the upkeep.
    And everyone of these monkeys in a managerial position says: “Aishh…. snot maih prohblehm. It’s apartheid’s fault.”

  4. Mary Anne you mean the 10 billion? 10million is peanuts. Get ready for a massive hike in tax for high earners, that is the only way forward for the ANC.

  5. Why not supply electricity only to the areas that are paying. Why continue supplying to ares where the people steal electricity and don’t pay their bills. Let me come and run the system. I will quickly shut down the non payers. Seems like the people running the eldctricity system should be sorted out.

    1. Because that woukd be deemed racist by the dumbass black idiots running the country. To the whites left I say run while you can. I pray daily the lot of you can emigrate like I did. Not a day too soon.

      1. I work in a financial institution where we require proof of address for certain accounts. I see the electricity accounts with large outstanding balances I ask these people if they have not been “disconnected” yet, the response is, of course not “We do not have to pay” we just get the accounts, for office purposes. Some pay only R500.00 per month just so that the paper work for the stand/erf number goes through every month. Unfortunately i cannot report this as i would lose my job when questioned or discovered where the information comes from.

      2. Steven I shoot a bit of pistol with a guy that was in government security, his brothers are still in SA and they say they are OK with things. We are in Queensland Australia and my friend says they are nuts for staying, I will tell him about how the power system is wearing out for lack of work on it. Maybe his brothers cooks can work on a wood stove and they have lots of candies.

    2. Because it’s the non-payers that vote ANC so the government cannot antagonist their voters, hence no action is taken against them.

    3. Ronnie you take the words out oh my mouth,that is surely the way to go.The problem then for the useless government is to police the riots and anarchy that will follow.Always it was known that the blacks want everything for mahala,the word they know so well.It is sickening what is happening due to a lameduck government with brainless parasites followed by the stupid and supported by them.How long do they think can it go on like this.

    4. You are obviously not South African. Trying a stunt like that (shutting down supply of non payers) will almost certainly cost you your life. These people really believe that they are entitled to get EVERYTHING for free. Farewell my beloved motherland, my heart bleeds for you… Australia here I come.

  6. This is what happens when a mass of Negroes “inherit” or take over something white people designed, built, ran, and maintained..
    Just like the houses and neighborhoods and cities they are destroying here in the U.S.
    They know nothing or responsibility, foresight, maintenance, etc.
    The think things just run–magically–and will continue to, b/c white people, after all, made it “look easy.”

  7. Supply only to people who pay why blame apartheid. Before apartheid our electricity was cut if we never paid. Blame the ANC government and the false promises made to South Africans to win their vote. They are responsible wake up South Africa and fight for rights as a south African

    1. Unfortunately you cannot say “Supply only to the people who pay” because they link up cables to businesses, and other households because they don’t pay for it, so why should they worry.

    1. I see the same thing here in California. Left SA 35 years ago because I feared for the future of my children. Now I fear for my future. Never thought I would live to experience that.

  8. Well they have a President and his comrads that refuses to pay, a President that has put more people out of jobs, selling evetything to the Chines.What do you exspect

  9. As a Maintenance Manager for a large Property Developer here in Cape Town I have repaired and made good about 80% of SWITCH-BOARDS that have been tampered with where the TENANTS have been (to keep this PC) NON-WHITE. Seems these guys are NOT as STUPID as we think when it comes to STEALING. They find all kinds of Ingenious ways to BY-PASS the Electric METERS!!!

  10. @Sand pebble: yes it was. The African has no concept of tomorrow. Therefore if it is working today, it should carry on working tomorrow. We have no need of those, expensive and educated, white engineers. Replace them with ANC cadres who will learn on the job (if they turn up and are able to do it hahahahaha). Today electricity, tomorrow water, the day after who knows what. And so South Africa gets closer and closer to Zimbabwe, the failed state so many Africans admire; because Mad Bob showed Whitey whose boss in their own back yard!!

  11. The street lights,park lights etc burn 24/7 but the residential homes have to be inconvenienced with load shedding for 14 + hours at a time and the locations like Soweto where only 16% of the pouplation pay their electricity bills don’t even know what load shedding is because they don’t load shed in the township like Soweto,Thembisa etc,etc

  12. Here’s the deal if they were to cut off the electricity they would strike and destroy every thing as per usual and more commonly known as “service delivery protests” because they do not care for the day of tomorrow its one thing they cannot learn as it’s not in their blue print so to speak our leaders or suppose to be leaders of this county are failing because the are more then just uneducated they tured greedy and blind eyed to the problems of this country as long as ut does not affect them directly they just dont care they never did not for the people and not for the country they call home a revoution will take place time to come and they will eventually be the rulers of their own demise and then the educated white race along with the educated black race with I personally have met a few will have to rebuild a nation/country run down to ashes let alone if there are any of them still living in S.A….time to take the lead or follow blindly

    1. As you say the problem is the striking and destroying of property, they do not understand that if they burn down a library or a shop, or an important building, that this affects them, but no they will expect the government to re build, which is actually our money from the taxes we pay. And this they do because they are allowed to strike, it is in their blood to do this when they want something, and yet they will continue voting for the ANC.

    1. There is one, newly built, but when it failed some safty regulations our “wanderfull” government decided its not a big problem and it is up and running. Or it was until one of the units broke. Who saw that coming?
      Where are all those people who was against apartheid at least then everybody had the basics food, water, electricity, jobs

  13. Comes as no surprise but thank you to all who voted ANC Soon we will be another failed african state due to negligence and corruption. We all can give a standing ovation to eskom and the government for there pure negligence.

  14. Makes soooo angry!!!!! SERIOUSLY! What’s it guna take to get everything back to the way it was when I was growing up????!!!!! Absolutely ashamed to call SA my home country…. Stupid stupid ANC

  15. I have just watched a doccie called Zero Hour on Discovery World about the Chernobyl disaster, and the very thought that this government of ours, with their abysmal maintenance capability, is considering more nuclear power is quite terrifying! And this provided by the same people who were responsible for Chernobyl. Heaven help us!

    1. You should read up a bit more about nuclear energy. Chernobyl was an accident waiting to happen and the technology and design for it was not good. When done properly, nuclear energy IS the safest and cleanest way to harness energy. Anti-nuclear movements are uneducated when it comes to facts and stifle development and implementation of this technology. I believe France gets around 75% of it’s electricity from nuclear power. If we had proper nuclear power plants in operation today we would not be experiencing load shedding, we would not even be having this discussion.

      Here is a link to some myths about nuclear energy:

      I also suggest watching the documentary called “Pandora’s Promise” – it is very informative about the different types of nuclear reactors and how safe they operate and how over 90% of the fuel is reused over and over.

      1. I’m certainly no expert on nuclear power, but if the flaws are obvious to the man in the street they must be huge! The arrogance of the (supposedly intelligent) man tasked with conducting the disastrous Chernobyl test reminds me of the current overriding of parameters set for testing at Kusile power station. (It will take too long for certain conditions laid down to be met so let’s just ignore them and carry on regardless!) It’s not essentially nuclear power that concerns me, but the people who will be responsible for the maintenance thereof. I have read your suggested article and will take it from whence it comes – just like Monsanto telling us how genetically modified food is good for us

        1. I agree with your concern regarding the capability of the current regime if given the task of properly running nuclear power plants. I think it would have to come from a private energy business – that way the lack of brains in government will/should not have an effect.
          But when talking about Chernobyl and using it as a “well look what happens” example is simply fallacious. That type of reactor would NEVER exist outside of the Soviet Union. They knew the risks, they made a mistake, they paid the price. And more importantly – everyone learned.
          Regarding “take it from whence it comes” – here is an unbiased article:

          I don’t want to come across as if I’m trying to ‘school’ you – I really am no expert. But i did used to be anti-nuclear 100%. But then I started reading more and more about it and that documentary I suggested really was another eye-opener. People generally are frightened by nuclear energy because everything they have ever heard about it comes from sensationalized media that is never really accurate. Chernobyl becomes the poster-child for nuclear energy, which is just wrong. Coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. Coal power is far more dangerous and deadly so who do you think likes to create anti-nuclear talking points? I’ll give you a clue:

          1. Well I live across the sugar bush river facing Letabo power station, I did worked their in 1987 to 1990 on the boilers, it was a new plant and so well run, I could not believe these pictures of the ash spilled everywhere.
            I have been watching them pump out ash for the last 5 months because the precipitators are not working anymore , it’s shocking how they allow this to continue.

          2. THough Chenrobyl’s reactor had a flaw, too many boron rods inserted led to marked heat increases, the main culprit was bad managers and that dumb experiment they were running. Saying that, it sounds like Russia was leaps and bounds above what’s going on in S. Africa.
            Also, look at 3 mile island and Fukushima. Just one accident and everyone dies.

      2. Nuclear power is also by far the most expensive form and we will have massive bills to pay to Russia for many years to come, so back to the original point of the discussion, because it’s NUCLEAR power, do you think Soweto residents will suddenly be happy to pay 100% of their usage? Nope. Some other suckers will have to pay until they have been sucked dry, at which time the country will just disappear up it’s own butthole, or become South Russia. As important as the fact is that we no longer have people in place to run advanced technology, so is the fact that we cannot afford it.

  16. Today they will strike and burn down a train, and tomorrow they strike again, because they wait for that train they burned the day before, that did not arrive at the station….that is how they opperate in SA. The minority is paying for the majority in SA. I say…..if you pay tax, you can vote. If not … can’t!

  17. now if the judicial system is fair I suggest no one pays then see what happens. I think it’s so wrong that certain people seem to get away not paying and it’s the rest of society that picks up the cost of non payers. Come on S.A get a grip and sort it!!!! Disconnect the non payers would be a start. It probably a case of ‘we can pay but won’t’

  18. it is because you are white that you pay for services, even the services that you have not used……its because they are black they don’t have to pay…..just take, take, take……this has been the plan allllllllllll along…..that’s what they were promised remember……free everything, but whites must pay, because whites were privileged in the past, blacks were sidelined, now its time for the whites to pay…..forever……its called redistribution of wealth……until someone kicks their butts out of government, there lies a very dark, dismal future ahead for all…..

  19. Each person in management should be evaluated with regard to training, education, experience, competency and performance. Those who fail should be fired together with whoever appointed them. Otherwise the government must take full responsibility.

  20. Sadly, we are in this for the long run and I don’t think it will get much better for awhile. The major problem is that whites are just not trusted, and quite frankly black people don’t actually care what we have to say. The ANC cant meet the promises that they made to their people and over time more and more EFF type groups will emerge further destroying the power base of the ANC. If the DA wants to get into power they will have to elect a Black leader for as long as Helen Zille is there, mass black voters wont move across just a complete lack of trust. The ANC have told their voters that if the DA comes in they will bring back apartheid. The more middle and upper-class ( financially) know better but the masses just don’t trust. I visited a client in Cape Town yesterday who is now almost completely free of the grid and reliance on ESKOM. Ok if you have a bit of spare cash you can do the conversion. He spends only about R 100 per month on ESKOM power the rest he generates himself. This is one solution to an immediate problem.
    Ultimately I think the ANC will sell the country to the Chinese without even realising that they have done so. So the question is simple, battle on in the beautiful country or emigrate to ….. where??


    . GO FIGURE.!!!

  22. Let’s face it. At least in the so called apartheid regime we never experienced incompetence like we do currently of which most Africans with a brain would themselves agree that they lived better then than now. The only members of the anc that are reaping the benefits are the ones in power who are totally milking both our country and their own culture. But don’t worry, our president will take a shower and hope he washes the cap away which he initiated.

  23. How about a vote. Whites take freestate and kwazulu natal or northern cape and move back to the old ways and laws and we give the rest of South Africa to the blacks

  24. Cut the main power lines to the squatter camps then the problem will be resolved…why is this not being done?hmmmmm cause the country is run by a bunch of degenerates.

  25. These people are in a catch 22 situation, they want the whites out but the whites are the people paying the bills. I wonder where they think the money is going to come from once we have all gone? Dumb asses!

  26. “Coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.”
    Who came to that conclusion? Why then are there such stringent international standards for nuclear waste storage and none for coal ash. In fact, this stuff is used in concrete, road building etc.

  27. Of all the comments above, this one from E. Newton
    February 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm should make people think. The diminishing White majority in Europe has no more reason to gloat.

    According to E. Newton: “I see the future of my country, the U.S., in these photos and the story behind them.”

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