Eskom said on Thursday, its management had initiated an immediate probe into an incident at the Lethabo Power Station in the Free State in which a steam pipe burst, killing one employee and seriously injuring another.
In a statement, Eskom said its management had visited the power station on Wednesday night and had ordered an investigation “as per regulatory requirements”.
“On behalf of the Eskom Board, executive management and all the Eskom employees, we would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, and also wish the colleague who is in hospital a speedy recovery,” Eskom chief executive Phakamani Hadebe is quoted as saying.
The state-owned power utility said the the incident happened at 3.23pm when “live steam pressure from the boiler of Unit 5 of the Lethabo Power Station ruptured, sending a plume of dust into the air”.
A work stoppage was initiated before the power station manager and chief executive of Eskom Rotek Industries addressed workers.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, it is expected that Unit 5 will remain out of service for a minimum of three months,” said Hadebe.
“The loss of Unit 5 will have a negative effect on the power system given that Lethabo Power Station is one of the most cost-effective generators with adequate access to a steady coal supply. All efforts will be focused on the safe and swift return of this unit to the national grid.”