Eskom, Old Mutual say grid collapse message ‘fake news’

Eskom, Old Mutual say grid collapse message ‘fake news’

Old Mutual on Tuesday distanced itself from a widely-circulated voice note claiming the country’s electricity grid is on the verge of collapse.


The message has been widely circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

In a voice note, a man who claims to work for Old Mutual can be heard claiming that board chair and former finance minister Trevor Manuel informed workers that President Cyril Ramaphosa is planning to declare a national state of disaster over the energy crisis.

The man claims the announcement is expected on 9 December, and on the same day the grid will collapse.

Eskom has since rubbished the claims made in the voice note.

"Eskom is aware of a viral message seeking to cause panic doing the rounds purporting to be from the chairman of Old Mutual. We have alerted the company. There is no basis to the recording," said the utility's spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

During a briefing last week, the utility's chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer warned that the utility plans to shut down Unit 1 at Koeberg for maintenance and refuelling on 8 December, removing  920MW of generation capacity from the national grid.

However, there was no mention of a system collapse.

In a statement sent to Jacaranda FM News on Tuesday, Old Mutual has distanced itself from the "baseless" claims in the message.

"Old Mutual is aware of a voice note being distributed via WhatsApp and on social media in which an individual warns of an imminent grid collapse, citing a member of the Old Mutual Board as a source of this information. Old Mutual distances itself from the claims made in the voice note, which are baseless and only seek to create panic.

 “This is certainly not a view shared by the Group, nor has it been communicated as an official position with any party, including employees.  All individuals are encouraged to verify any information received via social media or through messaging apps, before sharing it with anyone," said the group.


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