Eskom has its lightbulb moment - after 12 years

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Eskom has its lightbulb moment - after 12 years

They say they are doing their very best, and I’m sure that by 2037 they’ll understand load-shedding must be stopped

Columnist


Eskom and the government, Pravin Gordhan told the nation on Tuesday morning, don’t know when mass blackouts will end, but they’re doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances. Which is weird, because stage four blackouts are obviously the best they can do. As for those difficult circumstances, well, I assume he’s talking about the difficulty of being a government rooted in the 19th century, running a country that, irritatingly, keeps wanting to live in the 21st.
In his defence, Gordhan was very apologetic on Tuesday, promising to communicate more frankly and regularly with the SA public. This means we will only have to wait in the dark for three or four weeks between updates, rather than the five that elapsed between the start of stage four and yesterday’s briefing.
There was more good news when he announced that his team is “getting a better grasp” of the problem, presumably by Googling “load-shedding” and reading news reports from 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
This whip-crack response followed hot on the heels of a stunning announcement on Monday that the Eskom board understands that there is, in fact, a problem. I for one have full confidence that by 2037 Eskom and the ANC will understand that load-shedding is something that must be stopped.
That, however, was where the good news stopped. There was, Gordhan said, no “magic formula” for ending the blackouts. This would have come as a terrible shock to Gauteng MEC Faith Mazibuko, who was sure Eskom would “fly a magic” and turn the power back on, saving her from all those lurking white and Indian women trying to take away her combi-courts.
The main issue, said Gordhan, was a lack of maintenance, or, in English, the ANC spending the past 25 years dreaming its dreamy dreams of how much of the loot it would squirrel away in Dubai and how much it would just blow straight away on Johnnie Blue.
But there is candlelight at the end of the tunnel.
According to Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe, R50bn has been put aside for maintenance over the next five years. Using standard ANC arithmetic – subtract 25% for theft, another 25% for incompetence, and another 25% for lawyers defending the perpetrators of the first two subtractions – and there will be at least R12bn left over.
And that’s more than enough to hire some vocal communist to subcontract his radical socialist wife to hire her anti-capitalist nephew’s logistics firm to keep the coal coming.
Power to the people, guys. For about 17 hours a day. As long as nothing else goes wrong.

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