Eskom is ethically bound to provide cheap, clean power to all
The mismanagement and corruption of the utility are a serious moral breach of the contract between state and citizens
What insights might be gained if one approaches the issues around Eskom from an applied ethics perspective? Eskom is a monopoly entity providing an essential service. Both aspects of this reality have important ethical consequences.
Under normal circumstances in a free-market economy, strict rules apply to ensure fair competition among businesses in the same sector. The active Competition Commission – giving fines to those who enter into price collusion – is an example of how jealously competition is guarded.
The enforcement of competition rests on two assumptions: the market must be open to fair play; and prices are normally lower in a more competitive environment. The result is an ethical playing field with benefits for customers. As soon as a state entity operates as a monopoly both the notions of “fair playing field” and “fair pricing” come under pressure...