News in South Africa 28th June:

1. Eskom issues new rules for grid access:

Eskom is doing away with its “first come, first served” principle for projects applying for grid access. It now wants developers to demonstrate that their projects are shovel-ready and will be able to add generation capacity before making grid allocations.

Eskom issues new rules for grid access
Photo by Los Muertos Crew

Speaking at a briefing to industry players on Tuesday, Eskom’s general manager for operations enablement, Velaphi Ntuli, said the changes had come about given grid constraints that are escalating with each public power procurement process, and now the opening up of the energy market for Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Ntuli explained that Eskom wants to ensure that projects that are “shovel-ready” are the ones that get connected first, rather than the current situation, where projects that applied first for grid capacity get allocations and then effectively hog space indefinitely.

“We can’t continue to have a situation where capacity is allocated, and capacity is not used. We need to work together to ensure we have these minimum things in place so that guaranteed generation capacity is added to the grid,” he said.

Last year, 23 wind projects lost out on being named preferred bidders in round six of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) owing to grid constraints. As government prepares to launch Bid Window 7, the interim rules are warranted given the urgent need for grid capacity, said Seetsele Seetswane, engineering manager at Eskom.

The rules do not prioritise any projects (whether private or public) over the other, nor any generation technologies, he explained: 

We hope that the rules will help us achieve a fair and equitable and transparent allocation for the limited resource that we have.

Eskom is now following the principle of “first ready, first served”. This means that it will only be allocating grid capacity to projects that are ready to bring much-needed generation capacity online, he emphasised.

Eskom has a project-readiness criteria which developers will have to meet.

2. Thieves threaten World Bank’s rail project:

A World Bank Group-funded effort to increase train access to a power plant in South Africa’s coal-rich region has started to significantly backslide as criminals target the country’s rail system.

Development of a 68-kilometre route between Ermelo, east of Johannesburg, and Eskom’s Majuba power station started over a decade ago to replace the continuous flow of trucks delivering coal to the plant.

Once completed, the rail line will be cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly, according to the World Bank.

It’s unclear, however, when that train will start running: there have been eight instances of railway infrastructure theft since April 2022, according to Eskom.

While the Majuba train line was 97.5% finished in 2021, as a result of vandalism and damage linked to copper cable theft, the project is now only 87% complete.

Selling copper cable for scrap may not be thieves’ only motivation. “The intelligence community has indicated through their assessments that the railway lines and links are targeted by criminals in order to promote increased demand and opportunities for the use of trucks,” Eskom said.

The Majuba railway line falls under the umbrella of the World Bank’s Eskom Investment Support Project, which is intended to enhance power supplies in a manner that would also support long-term carbon mitigation.

Out of a total cost of $402 million for the Majuba project, Eskom contributed $132 million in financing, and the World Bank loaned $270 million, which the bank said is currently in repayment.

With aspects of the broader project still underway, some weak points have already emerged. Eskom’s narrowing market share will hit the utility financially, an EISP report found, and poor performance at the Majuba station has already reduced the amount of coal the plant consumes.

Criminality, including violence and theft, has also spiked at the utility in recent months. “Sabotage was raised subsequently by Eskom as one of the main challenges the company has been facing, which appears to be an issue across much of its generation fleet,” the World Bank said in a reply to questions.

Such incidents more than doubled in 2022 relative to the previous year.

3. Load shedding spikes again:

Power utility Eskom says that delays in returning units to operation is causing a generation shortfall, leading to higher stages of load shedding on Wednesday (28 June).

Load shedding will be pushed to stage 2 from 07h00 until 16h00. After that, stage 3 load shedding will be implemented from 16h00 until midnight.

The utility said that it will publish an update during the course of the day.

Wednesday, 28 June

  • Suspended: until 07h00
  • Stage 2: 07h00 to 16h00
  • Stage 3: 16h00 to 00h00

Thursday, 29 June

  • TBD

The sudden change breaks a three-week trend of suspending load shedding during the day and only keeping blackouts to the evening.

Eskom has been implementing stage 1 load shedding during the day over the weekends, but has still managed to suspend outages for at least some periods.

While South Africans, businesses and stakeholders have welcomed the reprieve, energy experts have continued to caution that Eskom’s grid remains volatile and conditions are subject to change at short notice.


For people living in the major metros, load shedding schedules are available here:

For access to other load shedding schedules, Eskom has made them available on

4. Mafia tactics in construction combated:

The government has committed itself to fighting corruption and criminality in the construction field as part of a coordinated plan aimed at revitalising and rejuvenating the industry.

Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Sihle Zikalala said on Tuesday the government is aware of the external risk stemming from the construction mafia that hinders the construction sector through illegal activities that undermine the rule of law – and is urgently addressing this issue.

“Government through the Ministry of Police has tasked the Organised Crime Investigations Detective Services as well as the Serious Organised Crime [unit] within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations to urgently address this matter,” said Zikalala.

“A National Forum has been established to coordinate the cases in all affected provinces. Reports received from the police indicate that a total of 682 cases have been opened. Extortion cases are 132 while extortion-related cases are 550.

“To date, the police have made 702 arrests but we want to see prosecutions and sentences,” he told a Big 5 Construct Southern Africa Stakeholders Engagement Forum.

Zikalala said corruption, criminality and the activities of the construction mafia distort fair competition, impacting project timelines and costs.

He referred to a Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime Report that stated the disruption and blockages of construction sites cost the economy over R68 billion before the pandemic in 186 projects.

5. Tornado in Durban:

A tornado has damaged infrastructure and properties in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal.

Although widespread damage to roofs and power cables has been reported, the scale of the damage remains unclear.

Emergency services treated two people for injuries related to the tornado, with another person dying due to flooding in the area.

All information sourced from articles posted by: Fin24, DailyInvestor, BusinessTech, Moneyweb, and EWN.

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