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EDITORIAL | The state of Eskom is a national emergency. It must ...

Ideas

EDITORIAL | The state of Eskom is a national emergency. It must be fixed

It should be full speed ahead to renewable energy, but Mantashe prefers to prop up the coal sector for ideological reasons

Editorial

Hours a day of darkness at noon thanks to Eskom may have helped obscure the fact that our economy registered a miserly 1.2% growth rate in the fourth quarter of last year, which means the economy as measured by gross domestic product is still smaller than it was before the onset of Covid-19 two years ago. Successive finance ministers have warned us that without growth many of the upliftment and social initiatives that are meant to be at the centre of government policy will come to naught. Someone should tell Eskom and the government that.

Worse still, if things carry on this way the entire country might be shut down, as the 9-million litres of diesel that Eskom is using each day to keep the lights on become too expensive and hard to buy on a rattled global oil market. Simply put, we are in crisis.

But you wouldn’t think so judging from our handling of it. At the heart of this entirely self-inflicted crisis lies the legislated monopoly that Eskom has enjoyed historically as the producer and distributor of our electricity, mainly through coal-fired power stations situated among the coalfields of Mpumalanga. Despite enjoying a monopoly Eskom finds itself a shell of what it once was. Ruinous deployment of cadres to hold important and well-paid positions and an undeclared war of attrition on old expertise has seen the utility denuded of skills and responsible leadership...

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