Eskom ... is there ANY chance?

I am pretty sure only the overseas stuff has the particulate filter. As far as I know, the models in SA does not have this. The guys over on the 4x4 community forum also seems to confirm this (at least in 2018).

Here’s a bit I found on the CAR magazine’s website explaining why SA specific models do not need it. TECHMAIL: DPFs and catalysts - CAR Magazine

BMW diesels from 2001 has DPF and EGR.

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Reminded me of this on USA trucks:

Back to the thread a bit …
And there some more “info” comes out from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak …

Could be. That would be excellent (in terms of cost at least, perhaps not so much for the environment). In my car the DPF housing is definitely in there. It looks like this:


But now that you mention it, I do recall hearing that it is empty. There is nothing in there. That could well be true. But then at least one guy I know (who had his Diesel Fortuner de-catted) was taken for a ride…

My comment was more about the EGR though. We’ve had that for a long time already, in most vehicles, even the petrol ones.


We do have CATs (again, as far as I know) in order to make it possible to use 500ppm (if you are really crazy and trying to save a few Rands). This is what I’ve read, but I do not know how these things work…

Ah, okay I assumed that the EGR is the same as the DPF, because you mentioned that it gets clogged up if you don’t cruise for long at a good speed. My understanding is that that is a problem with the DPF, which is why it is okay do use these bakkies for city driving (on this one aspect, it is still a sub optimal idea in general).

We’ve recently bought our first diesel in the form of Ford’s new 2.0l bi-turbo. Yes, I like an adrenaline rush from taking the reliability chance, but me and my family have owned many Fords and never had any issues. So I believe it must have something to do with how we treat our vehicles also…

Anyways, I am quite surprised at how different driving a diesel vs petrol is. Diesel takes so long to heat up, definitely doesn’t achieve good mileage in city driving, but much better at cruising on the highway. When getting a new car, I’m always extremely focused on fuel economy and how to drive the car to obtain the best mileage while still obeying the rules of the road (and arrive timeously at my destination). It has been a huge adjustment to drive a diesel.

And also an automatic gearbox: Another thing I’m finding difficult adjusting to when it comes to economy. Adjusting to it from a convenience perspective is easy, but I find it difficult to adjust to the gearbox not “anticipating” the hill, or down hill etc. Sure, it shifts quickly, but it shifts without taking account of the road, traffic, etc. where in a manual you anticipate those things (subconsciously most of the time). Can’t wait to get an EV!

And then we have this new business “booming” …

FWIW, driving an old tech diesel engine with absolutely no computer on it, is bad bad mojo for in-town driving, hence the diesel-electric idea, when I win the Lotto, as it is a Hobby, Not a Want Nor a Need.

Yeah sorry, a lot of terms, and some of them are thrown around interchangeably.

EGR is exhaust gas recirculation. Reasons for that: Any unburnt hydrocarbons get a second change at combustion. Carbon monoxide gets a second chance at grabbing another oxygen atom. And in Diesels, the exhaust gas is mostly inert (having been burnt already) and it therefore lowers the combustion temperature, which reduces Nox.

A Catalytic converter is used in petrol cars. It has expensive metals inside. It oxidises many of the bad things in the exhaust gas, making it cleaner.

A DPF, is sometimes called a “diesel cat”, hence the confusion. But it is a different beast of course.

In SA, we have EGR, and we have Cats. We don’t have DPFs (apparently, if you are right, which you probably are), except in the imported vehicles.

You are right about 500ppm being a no-no when there is a DPF in the car. Also contributes to less engine wear, better oil health (due to less sulphur byproducts).

Diesel has a more bulky and heavier engine. Higher compression ratios, therefore more steel required. So it will take longer to heat up.

For me the largest difference in the driving is the tiny bit of boost lag. Most Diesels are turbos, while most petrol vehicles are NA. So a Diesel has that bit of a 3 step process, first you put your foot down, then you hear that slight woosh as the turbo spools up, and THEN it goes…

But I love the torque characteristics. That makes it a pleasure to drive.

Also, I’ve learned to heel-toe upshift this thing… like a truck, to get it into the power band quicker :slight_smile:

Reminds me of friends and family driving behind me down mountain passes who have on occasion told me my brake lights are dead as they don’t see me using any brakes.

Robots, if I’m bored I can “play” and come to a near dead stop just using gears and engine.

Because of the backpressure in these old tech engines. Like having a “retarder”. :laughing:

Converse, driving down a lekker long hill on the freeway you cannot take your foot off the accelerator … they slow down.

Hah! My poor father in law. We drove all the way up to Gauteng some years ago. Me in the Diesel, him in his petrol vehicle. When we got back, he had speeding fines… I didn’t, even though we drove together.

Turns out, the torque uphill means I pull away from him going up the hill, the engine braking on the other side means I go down slower… he falls behind on the uphill side, and catches up on the downhill side… where the speedcop is waiting.

But how clean is the grid powering the transporter? Not so clean anymore, issit? /s

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It’s powered by the ships Fusion reactor and although the plasma might be dumped into space on some instances there are no rain in space for it to combine and make acid rain, or even heat up the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses.
So it is actually very very clean energy :rocket: :slight_smile:

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Note to editor: Unit 9: 120MW not 120kW

I wonder where this is heading … SA has it woes, but it seems to be an international “trend”, grids companies taking strain.

“Feels like” the generation who started it, spent the monies, the following generations not so much, seeing that a civil engineer once told me, each generation must “pay their own way”.

This is an interesting idea …

And this makes even more sense … along the line of going solar, you need lifestyle changes too, or it costs a small fortune:

Now why is the Gov stalling … rhetorical question: :wink:

Sigh, so for the fourth time in 4 weeks my neighourhood has lost power. Issue with both the line between our substation and the upstream one, as well as something in the upstream one. Eskom might be in a dire state but the municipalities (other than CPT?) aren’t doing much better.

I get timely updates since our ward councillor is also the Chief Whip of council, but still painful. They were digging up a sidewalk last night to fix it, got everything running at 0:20 this morning and 13:00 this afternoon it went off again.

I’m fine as long as the weather plays along and I manage my loads extra carefully (or run the gennie for a bit, which I’ll probably have to do again tonight).

EDIT: should have posted this earlier, just as I post it came back on. :slight_smile:

I can imagine it is more than mildly frustrating to the residents without solar systems…

Absolutely. I’m like 70% off-grid, so need to manage loads for the night / day (if there’s little sunlight). So I’m acutely aware of losing the grid but not as frustrated/mad as my neighbours.

But then again, I think the whole idea about this thread is discussing the state of Eskom and the electrical grid (and I’m including the municipal grid in that) since it affects much more than just our houses.

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Indeed. We got our backup system in place roughly 21 months ago, didn’t get solar immediately as I still wanted to check things out a little and register with CoCT. My one neighbour came over to have a look at my system and promptly decided to go full out solar, batteries, the works.

A few months later I had my solar system registered and installed. I have the exact dates somewhere, but that doesn’t matter much. Basically, I was the first in the neighbourhood (at least that I know of and have seen) to bite the bullet, and it wasn’t that long ago. Since then, at least 5 houses just in my street followed suit either with full solar or proper backup (I’m not talking trolley stuff).

So basically in 12 months, at least 6 of the just shy of 30 houses in my street bit the bullet. As well as many lower down in the neighbourhood. And I don’t stay in a particularly wealthy neighbourhood. Houses typically go for R3.5m or less (though those are the old ones, not yet renovated, haven’t had a renovated one in the market recently) which isn’t cheap but certainly no Constantia. I can only imagine how many people have gone this route in the more wealthy suburbs.

Sometimes looking at the market you can also observe the underlying state of something. If so many people in my street bought into the idea and spent a significant amount of their houses’ value on solar, I would imagine they don’t expect things to get better and are making plans for that.

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The Sunday newspapers: (But I reckon there’s substance here):

South Africa’s government is at war. With itself.

It’s a military achievement of sorts. Feuding factions of the African National Congress have sabotaged South Africa’s infrastructure more effectively in the past few years than the ANC’s rather hopeless armed wing managed in four decades of the struggle.

Escalating acts of sabotage at Eskom last week put the country on the brink of stage-six load shedding. Stage six means 10 hours without electricity in every 24-hour cycle.

This narrowly averted meltdown occurred when a pylon was deliberately toppled in an attempt to bring down two coal feeding lines to the Lethabo power station, the most reliable generator in the system. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, who always has been reluctant to identify as malicious the growing litany of such incidents affecting the national grid, was forced to change his tune.

“For some time we have had suspicious incidents and I think this is the clearest indication that we have had to date that there are individuals out there who seek to damage the economy by causing very significant and substantial load shedding.

“Can we cope with a concerted attack … on a number of our key elements of our system simultaneously? I don’t think that is a scenario that we want to contemplate,” he told a media briefing.

South African memories are short. Just two years ago, there were howls of fury and disbelief when, in December 2019, Eskom also had to impose stage-six blackouts — which then were defined as a mere four-and-a-half hours a day — because of the collapse of the national grid.

At the time, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his customary “shock” at events, and hurried back from a state visit to Egypt, claiming, to widespread derision, that sabotage was the reason for the crisis. Now, it seems he was right, after all.

In response to the latest incident, the University of Stellenbosch’s Bureau of Economic Research has warned against “possible co-ordinated action from former Eskom employees and state capture beneficiaries to destabilise South Africa’s power supply”. “Outside of the electricity sector, the unprecedented theft of cable on strategically important export rail lines and the debilitating actions of the construction mafia are further examples where criminality has become a constraint on economic activity,” it writes in a research note.

“State capture beneficiaries” is a euphemism for the Radical Economic Transformation faction of the ANC, the militant and increasingly bold grouping in July’s violent upheaval— which Ramaphosa termed “an insurrection” — in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. And to call it “criminality” is another understatement of the gravity of the situation.

South Africa is seeing a merging of criminal and political agendas that makes the country vulnerable to a guerilla-style campaign of targeted violence. It would be disastrous if this were allowed to happen but given the lack of leadership and political will in the ANC, it is entirely feasible.

At a practical level, De Ruyter points to the impossibility of policing South Africa’s more than 390,000 kilometres of distribution lines. But that’s only part of the problem.

During the struggle years, blowing up infrastructure like power lines, railroad tracks and rolling stock, roads and bridges proved to be dishearteningly futile for the liberation organisations. There was sufficient surplus capacity in the economy to seamlessly adapt to these puny attempts to create havoc. This infrastructural resilience is why the ANC changed its policy and started targeting people instead.

The fact that today the destruction of a single pylon can potentially cause such havoc, highlights the infrastructural fragility caused by ANC policies and incompetence. Eskom’s ability to produce an abundance of cheap electricity, which was legendary worldwide, has been destroyed as surely as if it had been targeted by an invading army.

In a sense, it has. An invading army of lotus-eaters, concerned with instant gratification and the minimum of work.

A 20-year blueprint to expand production, drawn up during the apartheid years, was discarded in favour of the immediate political benefits accruing from massive social spending. This was a mistake that former president Thabo Mbeki acknowledged as far back as 2007, but the ANC did almost nothing to rectify, aside from appointing in 2015 a so-called “Eskom war room” headed by the most fainthearted general to be found, Cyril Ramaphosa, which predictably did nothing.

Instead, experienced white engineers continued to be retrenched in dogmatic pursuit of filling employment quotas. At Eskom, as with all state owned entities, meeting race, gender and disability targets became at least as important a performance criterion in the eyes of the SOE’s political masters, as was the execution of their primary functions.

It’s such ideological rigidity, as well as the ANC’s poor calibre of leadership and its aversion to allowing the law enforcement apparatus to operate independently, which have combined to create the perfect breeding grounds for lawlessness and, ultimately, revolutionary insurrection.

The South African railway network — once regarded as one of the world’s best — is, in the words of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, “a broken organisation”. Thousands of kilometres of overhead cables, signalling wires and masts, as well as rail lines and sleepers, have been stolen.

Following the dismissal of irregularly appointed PRASA security guards, two-thirds of Cape Towns commuter stock was destroyed in arson attacks. In a single incident in Bloemfontein last year, 24 carriages were destroyed. To date, only two teenagers have ever been arrested.

Entire railway stations have been dismantled, brick by brick, and carried off, without any arrests. Vandalism and arson cost PRASA, the passenger rail agency, almost a billion rand in damaged infrastructure between 2017 and 2019. No arrests.

The road network is similarly under siege. According to the Road Freight Association (RFA), in 2019 and 2020, more than 1,300 trucks were attacked, damaged and destroyed, with at least 21 drivers or crew killed. There have been no arrests, despite a brace of ministers, including Police Minister Bheki Cele, describing it as a campaign of sabotage.

Since then, in the July unrest alone, 255 trucks were destroyed. The total cost to the freight industry of that week of chaos was R9bn, excluding the value of goods destroyed or looted. No arrests have been made.

In November last year, when I spoke to Gavin Kelly, the CEO of the RFA, he didn’t mince his words: “This is a planned, co-ordinated, destruction of the South African economy. These are co-ordinated military-style attacks.

"They are preceded by ample warnings, with social media calls for action and letters circulated beforehand, inciting violence. The police are not acting on such intelligence … They are unable or unwilling.”

The July attacks, he told me more recently, followed the same pattern. “This is not the kind of violence that characterises union-employer friction, where things escalate as workers become more gatvol and eventually anger explodes into action. There’s a deeper, darker picture of planned, well-timed strikes that the intelligence agencies are unable to track.”

The slow but sustained organisational and electoral disintegration of the ANC — the party is financially bankrupt and has lost control of key councils and metros, inhibiting its capacity for the future corruption and patronage that keeps it going — will accelerate public violence. The RET, with its paramilitary affiliations, has acted with complete impunity and will become bolder in seeking to impose its corrupt agenda by force.

This week, in KwaZulu-Natal, there were unsettling warnings of renewed public violence from Friday and through the weekend. The police have barricaded themselves in their stations and called on the public to bring 9mm rounds and KFC care parcels.

(Nah, I’m kidding. That was last time. This time, according to official statements, they will be conducting roadblocks and be on “high alert”.)

Whether or not the most recent threatened unrest occurs, it’s clear that Ramaphosa’s government is adrift in dangerous currents. Five months on, the July unrest remains unpunished. Not a single leader has been arrested, despite the ANC having the names of 12 of its members who were allegedly ringleaders.

Gutlessness to radicals is like chum for sharks. It attracts and emboldens.

Anything and everything possible will be done to prevent the slew of new, opposition-led councils from operating. There will be more sabotage, intimidation and violence. Assassination, already widespread within ANC ranks between vying candidates for public office and key jobs, may conceivably be deployed against the “enemy” opposition parties.

Trouble is escalating. Ramaphosa’s overly cautious character and marked lack of success in his previous “war room” deployment doesn’t exactly engender confidence in the government’s commitment or ability to stamp its authority.

It might be time for Ramaphosa to abandon his favourite tactic for dealing with his foes, that of “social compacting”, in favour of Napoleon’s favourite — “a whiff of grapeshot”.

Either way, there’s a rough ride ahead.

Follow WSM on Twitter @TheJaundicedEye

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