Sabotage ruled out as South Africa’s power cuts worsen

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South Africa’s Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has rejected claims that “sabotage” has led to the worst power cuts in the country since November.

On Saturday, the secretary general of the governing African National Congress (ANC), Fikile Mbalula, called it “clear sabotage” and said that “strong extra security measures” needed to be put in place.

But Mr Ramokgopa said on Sunday that leaks from boiler tubes, which are used in the generation of electricity in power plants, were to blame.

Those leaks caused nine major power units to fail at once, he added.

Two power units are now working again, and the other seven are expected to be up and running within days, according to the authorities.

Major relief is expected when additional power units are added to the grid in March, Mr Ramokgopa said.

South Africa has been experiencing power blackouts – known as load-shedding – for several years. Many people are forced to go up to six hours a day without power.

These power cuts come just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the end of load-shedding was “finally within reach”.

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