Repair works for Medupi power station’s Unit 4 start in earnest: Witbooi

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Medupi Power Station acting general manager Zweli Witbooi says the process to get the station’s Unit 4 working again has begun in earnest.

The unit exploded in August 2021 during an activity to dispel hydrogen with carbon dioxide. Witbooi was addressing the media at the station in Lephalale, Limpopo, on Thursday.

It is believed the explosion at Unit 4 at Medupi was caused by human error. Acting General Manager Zweli Witbooi believes the country would not have suffered as many rolling blackouts if the explosion didn’t happen.

The R122 billion power station took 14 years to complete. Initially, it was meant to cost between R56 and R60 billion but the costs escalated.

The coal-fired power plant comprises six units. Once fully operational the power plant will help reduce the blackouts.

Witbooi says it will take over R2.5 billion to rebuild Medupi’s Unit 4. “So far we have been able to do common cause investigations and was concluded in January.  We have also completed a technical assessment to establish the scope of work in terms of recovering property. That has been and it enabled us to approach the market.”

Regarding the eight employees suspended in connection with the explosion at Unit 4, Witbooi says they have begun disciplinary proceedings against them.

“After the incident that happened, the was an immediate suspension of 8 employees. They have been suspended pending the investigation. Those investigations are complete and we are taking them through disciplinary processes.”

The explosion sent shockwaves across the country. The unit currently sits at zero percentage of power availability.