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Eskom has warned that South Africa can be plunged into total darkness if Oracle is not stopped from withdrawing its services because of a payment dispute.

Oracle provides a range of technical services to Eskom which the power utility said is crucial to its operations.

Oracle claims it has been underpaid by R7.3 billion, but later reduced the amount owed by Eskom to R400 million. Eskom, however, only offered to pay R166 million.

Oracle subsequently threatened to discontinue its services because of non-payment from Eskom.

Eskom launched a Johannesburg High Court application to force Oracle to continue providing it with services despite the payment dispute.

As part of this application, Eskom said if Oracle withdrew its services it would have “catastrophic consequences” on the company.

Eskom argued it would prevent them from operating normally and can affect its ability to supply electricity to South Africa.

The power utility ramped up the fearmongering, warning that South Africa can be dumped into darkness if Oracle gets its way.

The Johannesburg High Court dismissed Eskom’s application, and the power utility has now changed its tune.

In a press statement today, Eskom said it has put contingency measures in place to reduce its risk and reliance on Oracle.

“Eskom has assessed the risks in the event of Oracle withdrawing technical services support. Eskom has interim risk mitigating processes in place to reduce the risk of its operations being disrupted,” it said.

The company said it finds it “regrettable the manner in which Oracle has handled the matter”.

Eskom added that it “will pursue all legal avenues and will not be bullied into paying any monies outside of the legal processes”.

Eskom intends to appeal the Johannesburg High Court ruling.

Eskom statement

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