Transnet heightens security ahead of ‘national shutdown’ protest
South Africa’s state-owned rail operator Transnet is putting plans in place to enable it to continue operations on Monday when the third biggest political party leads a national protest over the country’s energy crisis.
“The plans will take into consideration operational demands and available capacity,” the company said in an emailed statement on Friday. “Transnet’s priority remains to ensure the safety of its operations and employees, as well as customers and stakeholders accessing Transnet facilities.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters, led by Julius Malema, is planning a ‘national shutdown’ over power outages that have intensified as the state-owned utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., tries to prevent a complete collapse of the grid.
Eskom’s generation capacity has been marred by breakdowns at its poorly maintained and ageing coal-fed plants, resulting in power cuts of about 6 to 12 hours a day. The rotational blackouts are costing the country as much as R899 million per day, according to the central bank.
While there is no indication of the scale of the protest action, security forces will also be on high alert, with the defence force on standby to protect national key points. Police are erring on the side of caution following the 2021 civil unrest which started out as protest action and left more than 350 people dead.
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