Fears of possible sabotage at Eskom power stations are being dealt with by NATJOINTS, the co-ordinating structure for national security and law enforcement operations.
Last week it was reported that police, intelligence and “the army” were being called in to ensure the lights stay on. This was after suspicions were raised the recent power crisis was deliberately created to undermine the proposed new Eskom structure. Changes to the make-up of the national power provider were announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address earlier this month.
All Eskom facilities are classified as national key points and their protection is deemed a task of national security at all times, a source in the national defence force told defenceWeb. He said there was “at present” no indication of any mobilisation or deployment of troops to stand guard at Eskom power stations and other facilities.
“What we know at our level is what we have heard and read in the media. Decisions on deployments and the numbers involved will be made by NATJOINTS,” he said.
Before the commando system was abolished these part-time soldiers were responsible for guarding any number of national key points. These included power stations, the Pelindaba nuclear facility west of Pretoria where the Broederstroom Commando was headquartered and what is now OR Tambo International Airport. When it was Jan Smuts International, perimeter protection was the responsibility of the then Kempton Park Commando.
Commando members were also tasked with guarding and ensuring the security of strategic rail lines, dams and harbours among others before democracy.
Democracy has also seen a change in thinking at Parliamentary level as regards national key points. This saw the submission of a proposed Critical Infrastructure Bill to replace the National Key Points Act. Public hearings were held early last year but it appears the bill has not progressed any further toward the Statute Book.