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Saboteurs Threaten to Exacerbate South Africa’s Power Blackouts

  • Cable cut on Friday adds to incidents intended to impair units
  • Theft also taking place as power cuts headed for record
An Eskom coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga.

An Eskom coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s state-owned power utility already struggling to avoid breakdown at its plants and nationwide blackouts, has another crisis on its hands: sabotage.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has reported cables being cut intentionally and rising theft at its plants, with the latest incident Friday, according to South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. Power cuts have become a daily occurrence over the last two weeks as the most industrialized nation on the continent heads for a record year of outages, disrupting daily life and crimping economic growth.