THE sudden power crisis in Johannesburg this week has been elevated to an economic offence and a criminal charge would be laid with the police‚ Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday (06/09/2013).
Speaking after the presentation of her office’s annual report at the Gauteng legislature‚ Ms Mokonyane said information coming from law enforcement agencies indicated the power cut that left almost half of Johannesburg in the dark was "an act of sabotage”.
"There has to be a case and the charge must be major‚” Ms Mokonyane said.
She said the provincial government regretted the disruptions‚ particularly in the operations of the business community.
"This thing is ordinarily not supposed to happen. The economic impact is so huge‚” she said.
Ms Mokonyane said workers at Johannesburg’s power utility‚ City Power‚ had downed tools as a result of the introduction of a new 24-hour split shift. The new shift system was expected to cut City Power’s spending on overtime costs‚ she said.
The Gauteng government was concerned that unprotected strikes were gaining momentum in the province‚ she said.
The power cut comes amid a strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the manufacturing industry‚ which had negatively affected vehicle manufacturers in Roslyn‚ Pretoria.
Ms Mokonyane said it would be "sad to see investors leave”‚ which would be at the detriment of the employed and unemployed people in South Africa.
Among the areas affected by electricity failure in Johannesburg was the commercial zone in Sandton‚ which houses the JSE.
"It makes us look bad in the eyes of the international community‚” Ms Mokonyane said.
Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau also took flak for remaining silent over the power crisis.
Ms Mokonyane said she had discussed the way forward on the matter with Mr Tau and urged him to lead the process of restoring the situation to normality.
Community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and economic development MEC Eric Xayiya had been tasked along with Mr Tau to ensure a criminal case was opened. © BDlive 2013